As if life with hundreds of cattle and sheep isn't mucky enough, we've started dumping our mucky rubbish in an unlined kitchen bin.

When single-use plastic bags went the way of the huia and Haast eagle, I tried newspaper. It proved unsatisfactory, hence in mid-January that method went the same way as New Year resolutions and the aforementioned birds.

At least I no longer feel like some kind of oddity for using cloth shopping bags.

Now when I present them at the supermarket check out I feel completely normal. When it comes to grocery shopping I'm no longer, say, a goat among sheep.


According to an article read over lunch in town one day, many aspects of our negative mental chatter can be promptly shut up by alcohol. Apparently a drink mutes our incessant inner critic.

No wonder glass of wine at the end of the day is an addiction that's tough for many of us to break.

It also appears that some people's inner critics veer off track and try to fix the rest of us. Actually, perhaps we're all guilty of that.

Many agitated readers have recently penned grumbling letters to newspaper editors about the demise of single-use plastic bags: This was the wrong place to start to solve the plastic problem. Why not focus on plastic packaging first? The litter problem stems not from bags but people. We need to train them not to litter.

Oh, please! There's more chance my cat will cook dinner. (Not tonight though, fish is on the menu.)

Surely if plastic bags are first past the death post, other plastics and environmental evils will follow.

Polar fleece, for example, is no longer on my shopping list because threads break free in the wash then chum up in the ocean in a sparse sort of way, more like grazing cattle than bees in a hive. The result: Massive slurries, dubbed the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and Great Atlantic Garbage Patch, which are tricky to spot even by satellite.

At least the problem is being tackled. Numerous families banned plastic Christmas gifts, with businesses also getting on board. For example, Air New Zealand plans to reduce the number of plastic items it uses by an astonishing 24 million this year. Getting the chop will be toothbrushes, straws, stirrers, eye masks. And that's just the start.


Surely, to achieve anything you've got to start somewhere and if you don't know how to solve a problem, starting anywhere will do.

I drafted this on scraps of paper while hot with irritation after reading a letter to the editor. Someone else might have listed their key points first. Either way, the result would have been the same – although sometimes it can be way better than expected.

Imagine the delight of scientists who accidentally produced a plastic-eating enzyme. And now imagine that, instead of searching for a solution, they were still debating where to start.

These scientists reckon they're on to a winner because the enzymes return plastic into its base products which can then be used to make more plastic. And so the cycle would continue.

In the meantime, transferring rubbish from the kitchen bin to the bag for collection (yes, it's plastic) is a bit messy.

But we all learned as toddlers that a jolly good rinse with soap and water makes hands (and the bin) sparkling clean.