Composting, Compounding,Composing or just plain Confusing?

I get it. I really do. I get Climate Change . I get that there are very serious environmental consequences relating to excessive consumerism, polluting detritus, rapid increase in urbanisation, (or rapid increase in land given over to agriculture) or (and even, as well as ) natural climate change .

What I don’t quite get, is the understanding of what really needs to be done. Let me qualify that . There is a mass of data and general information but there appears little acceptance of the consequences of not approaching that data with a more rational and holistic approach. If we are consistently bombarded with worst case scenarios and hair shirt resolutions, I firmly believe the general public will eventually switch off and say it won’t happen to me…..

I won’t drone on about electric cars, and the impact upon the environment on producing millions and millions of batteries. I won’t drone on about the lack of infrastructure. Nor will I speculate on how that change in infrastructure will impact upon the environment. Further more I won’t comment at length about a recent report suggesting that are times when when recharging your electric car cost as much as filling it with petrol. But I will talk about ‘bin bags’. Simple example. Most bin bags available in supermarkets and dramatically thinner, some compostable (come back to this). Avoiding cynicism (thinner bags) assuming they are like this to reduce plastic waste. My experience is that , we actually use twice the amount as if you put anything remotely heavy , slightly sharp or has an edge means they split and you end up using twice as much.

Plastic ,now that’s a material about which there is a massive misunderstanding. Based on a general assumption that everything a bit squidgy or stretchy is plastic. But that’s for another day . Many conversations with retailers at a recent trade exhibition illustrated some of the confused issues we are all faced with.

Nope my customers tell me they won’t buy plastic toys….they want wooden toys…

Admirable thought but how realistic is that intention. The end game for that train of thought has to be the global elimination of the manufacture of plastic toys. No big deal , plastic toys are hardly one of the corner stones of life as we know it. So you replace them with wooden toys. Well, for starters I am unconvinced that you can replace them in total with wood from sustainable forests. Moreover, it puts further pressure (created by all the future demands on wood) on sustainable forestry resources. It has social implications. Plastic is cheaper , compared to wood. Privileged kids have their toys, less privilged don’t. the question cannot arise of Can I afford to be environmentally aware ? Composting, do most know what it really means ? Do they compost ? Or do they stick it in recycling thinking it’s the same thing? No most don’t know. Not only don’t they completely misunderstand the concept ‘To Compost’. As many items that are compostable are not recyclable .

Mixed messages….lots of objections to HS2. Quite justified on financial grounds but when some of this objections are environmental it is much less clear. Do we want big reductions in air and road usage or not? It would make a lot more sense to extend it from London to Glasgow. Would it not?


You’d think the more ‘info’ we get the better it is. But we are literally we are under an information deluge, bit like the current rainfall. There is so much of it we don’t know what to do with it. It only compounds and exacerbates the confusion.


Diesel good …. very rapidly became diesel bad ….

Britain’s Power system has been decarbonising at a faster rate than any where else in the world .

Emissions have fallen buy over two thirds in the last decade. From 160 million tonnes in 2010 to 54 million in 2019

In the electricity sector, a decrease in demand for power proved to be the biggest driver of the decline in emissions, according to the report by academics from Imperial College London for Drax Electric Insights.

Demand fell by 13 per cent, even as the population grew by seven per cent and GDP rose by a quarter, as measures such as more energy efficient lighting, manufacturing and other efficiency measures took hold.

However the rise of electric vehicles and household heat pumps threaten to reverse this trend, the report warned.

Independent Feb 2020

This is a massive problem that needs massive answers. But those (no I haven’t a clue) answers need joined up thinking, and those joins need to cross boundaries. Moreover, the answers we are being given, lead to even more questions. The fear has to be that if the public is only given solutions that they don’t understand, find very confusing, and above all too extreme they will eventually pull the blinds down and say they are not going to play anymore .

No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.

Edmund Burke

I would add that I wrote this before the present Corona crisis. Everything that is above remains the same . What may have changed, in whatever direction that maybe, is societies approach.