Plastic Poetry

Photo_by_jon_wilson After today's column -- on a City Council bill to ban plastic bags and polystyrene packing materials -- got a call from Joe Donahue, age 75, of Conshohocken, who wanted me to hear his poem entitled "Paper or Plastic."

Joe says that back in "twenty-oh-four" he was driving between Minnesota and New York, coming back from the senior tour, where he works as a caddy.

"I was by myself, and I was amazed, just absolutely amazed, to see the plastic as you come through the farm lands. They all have the wire fences, and the lakes for cattle and fish farming, and the trees were all hanging this crepe of plastic. I settled down and wrote "Paper or Plastic."

This is why I love having my phone number at the end of these pieces.

With permission from Joe D., as he signs his poems, here goes:

The check-out counter is where it starts

Paper or plastic defines your heart.

You choose plastic and the trouble begins

What happens with that bag is almost a sin.

They say it's stronger, and that much is true

Reusable in ways paper won’t do.

It linens the trash can and carries ice

Stores food in your freezer.

Isn’t that nice.

When finally disposed of its life is not through.

There’s a lot of damage for this bag to do.

It floats in the air until snagged by a branch

Tossing and turning in a grotesque death dance.

Spoiling nature’s beauty with a cancerous spot

Turning a green glenn into a trashy vacant lot.

Tossed into water and carried by tide

It could end up in a fish’s inside.

Killing this creature in a horrible way

Taking his life with no one to pay.

Hauled off to landfills and ploughed underground

Living its plastic life longer than anything around.

So your very next time in the check-out line

Ask for paper and stop the plastic bag crime.

Some other calls were less poetic.

"Don't write about plastic again," warned a lady from South Philly, who said Councilman DiCicco should know better to spend his time trying to ban plastic bags.

"Paper bags bring roaches," she said, "and we don't need any more kinds of bugs around here."

Which is sort of poetic, actually.

Another writer, John Monaghan from Glenside put it this way:

"City Council should stop worrying about duck livers, plastic bags and cigarette butts and challenge citizens to become responsible.  Do that and people will respond.  Then Council can get on with the serious work at hand."

Meanwhile, I'm not the only person addressing the big issues who hears from fancy organizations. Anthony Preziosi, blogging at My Sick Mind, took a stance about soap dispensers in men's rooms, then got a hit from the Soap & Detergent Association. Which sounds to me like a CIA front if there ever was one. 

Posted 09/28/2007 04:45:37 PM

you know, most plastic grocery bags are recycleable (look for the "2" in the arrow triangle on the bottom of the bag). The only ones I know that aren't are Target bags (They are 4's). So why ban them if you can just put them in a recycling bin? Genuardi's even has plastic bag recycling outside a lot of its stores.

Posted 09/29/2007 01:35:12 AM

Recyclable? Yes, but not really. Recycling plastic bags is not an economically viable solution. See an explanation here:

Posted 09/29/2007 02:17:19 PM

mj: Regardless of whether or not they're recyclable, the environmental impact on making them is enormous, and it isn't balanced by recycling. The best choice is re-usable canvas or cloth bags. Even better than paper. Shop Rite sells them for 99 cents, and they give you a 2-cent refund every time you use them. But, you have to remind the kids at the cashier stand.

i m not plastic
Posted 05/21/2008 08:25:28 AM

uhmmm good! make some slogans also plzzz