That was some compelling ad copy on the plastic Palmolive dish detergent bottle. It was 30% more. Thirty percent! Thirty percent more than the 19-ounce bottle, that is. This was a 25-ounce bottle. So that’s just a little free arithmetic lesson for us. They’re off by three-tenths of an ounce, which is sloppy if you’re trying to send a rocket to Mars, but pretty dang close for detergent.
Any way you look at it, it’s more plastic. We go through a lot of plastic. Dave and I at least try to fend off some of the more egregious uses of plastic. For instance, you can buy a little plastic box with even littler plastic tubs of crackers and cheese if you want, assuming it’s too much trouble to slip some crackers and a few slices of cheese into your lunch sack. Now, apparently, you can even buy a large plastic tube of individually-plastic-wrapped graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate, plus some sticks. A plastic S’Mores kit.
You can sometimes purchase large plastic containers of product to decant into your smaller plastic containers; for instance, you can buy a big-ass bottle of Windex to fill up your smaller-ass bottles of Windex. You’re gaining something there. There’s less plastic per volume of product in the larger bottles. Except you still have to buy the bigger-ass bottle packaged with a smaller bottle and shrink-wrapped together with plastic.
So every two weeks when we take out the garbage we find there is a tremendous amount of plastic in it. Even after the plastic that is theoretically recyclable has been sieved out. I have my doubts about the recycling. I suspect it’s being ground down and crammed into exfoliating facial cleansers where it can go down the drain and into the ocean and mimic plankton, to the detriment of the entire food chain. Clearly the thing to do is quit buying the damn stuff in the first place. The shit never goes away. Never. And we didn’t used to have it. I’m old, but not in a geological sense. And I can remember when we didn’t have it. We got by.
I’ve mentioned it before: that first TV ad for Prell Shampoo. Someone reached coyly around the shower curtain (it was a WOMAN! She was probably NAKED! What a PRODUCT!) and asked for the shampoo, and her husband lobbed her the Prell in the little plastic tube. She was horrified! She shrieked attractively! But it didn’t break! Husband is a freaking genius! I related that ad again to a young person recently, and she said: really? Wasn’t it dangerous to take a glass bottle in the bathtub with you?
Yeah, no. Nobody got hurt running with scissors–we were drilled on that early–but people drove
drunk and got killed, and people occasionally burned themselves up smoking in bed, and people came back in pieces from Vietnam. But nobody I knew, or anyone else ever knew, got taken out by a glass bottle of shampoo in the bathtub. It wasn’t even an option in the game of Clue. What we did was exhibit the small amount of care one must when transporting a glass bottle into a bathtub. We did not, in fact, throw bottles of shampoo at our family members. Not even once. Not in your better families, anyway.
And some day, best beloveds, someone will be explaining to an incredulous child how we used to look for danger at intersections, rather than counting on our genius automobiles to screech themselves to a halt in front of the semi while we’re shooting the breeze with someone across the country using Bluetooth. That’s right. We used to look.
It’s even possible we could re-learn how to keep ourselves alive in the shower in a post-plastic world. Even if we culled a few people from the gene pool, it might be worth it.