Friday, October 27, 2006

A Rant About Plastic Pumpkins (and more)



How can anyone get fired up against a simple iconic item of American childhood? What kind of curmudgeon am I anyway? Let me tell you.

What I hate about plastic pumpkins:

Every fall millions of plastic Trick or Treat pumpkins are produced and transported to stores all over North America. They are made of plastic, which is made from petroleum products. The are shipped across oceans and then on diesel-burning trucks to Walmarts, Walgreens, Targets and similar mass merchandisers. They are typically used for a season or two and then, discarded and replaced. Every year, I see hundreds of them in fine usable condition in my local thrift shops. I wonder why factories, probably located in Asia, are cranking out more of these when there seem to be enough already in existence to last us several years. Further, I wonder why so much energy and plastic is used making items which we do not need. Any kid can tell you a pillowcase makes a fine trick-or-treat bag.

This is a prime example of the American approach to life. We spend money on this stuff in order to throw it away. We thoughtlessly consume a dwindling resource, create pollution, and contribute to global warming in order to do this. The item does not cost any one individual much money, but collectively it costs us all more than we know. They are so ubiquitous that folks have come to see them almost as a necessity. And this is just one small example of our messed up values with regard to the planet and its resources.

If you call yourself an environmentalist; if you have any concern for the future of the planet, stop and think about items you buy. Could you live without it? Could you buy it used? The less we need to consume, the more enriched our lives will be.

9 comments:

helen said...

i totally agree. working on that in my own life. getting rid of things, but attempting to not throw any of it out unless it is totally unusable. And then I will strive to not gather "junk" when i move out and start my marriage next year. but for over a year now, I have been quite good with not buying new things.

right now i am struggling...I am making a quilt, and all the scraps of garbage that makes! eeeek

jpknits said...

Thanks.

I hope you don't feel you should apologize about a good rant, especially when it offers such good possibilities for extended action.

Carol said...

I would say "You Go, Girl," except that phrase is so 2004.

If you want to gross yourself out even more, check out the fake pumpkins that you're supposed to CARVE. They are really skeevy. They carry them at Joann Fabrics. They hypnotize me with their awfulness.

Carina said...

Ooh, those pumpkins freak me out, too. What's the point? What's so wrong with carving real pumpkins and giving a family farm some money for them?

I'm thinking baskets for the kids this year. I can't seem to find the kids' Halloween bags, so I'm thinking a couple of nice baskets. Stephen's a farmer, so that'll go, and Anna's Tinkerbell, so it should work for her costume, too. Good thing I have baskets. ;)

Jerry & Maxy said...

Brilliant, and thought provoking. Blessedly, my Mum never got us those pumpkins...

YarnThrower said...

I totally agree! Our culture (and myself, too, when I think about it) really doesn't know the difference between a "need" and a "want". We should all try to embrace "live simply so that others may simply live"...

samw said...

Here Here!!!!! Absolutely cannot agree more! And to think that so many want, therefore they purchase! I lived for SOOOOOOOO long counting my pennies (divorced, single parent, working 3 jobs blah blah blah...). I learned good lessons about need vs. want. Now that things have evened out a bit more, I'm able to see the bigger picture regarding the wasteful culture I live in AND the huge dependency on oil (YUCK!). I think we cannot sing loud enough about pointing this out. Keep on singing!

Bezzie said...

Lovely rant. Great points. I'm proud to say I don't have a single plastic pumpkin in my house (nor did I have to ditch a ton when we moved!)

Wow, you know what would be really cool? You know those little mini gourds that look like pumpkins they sell around this time of year? I wonder how big those plants get? Imagine rounding up a bunch of those plastic pumpkins, and planting mini-pumpkin plants in them....a plastic pumpkin garden!

This is why I love ya--you exude something that sparks crazy/great ideas in me!

Linnea said...

Great post. I've always wondered what it's like to work in one of those crap plastic factories - probably not pleasant - and how people who churn out plastic pumpkins day after day for our disposal feel about the entire thing.

I'm amazed at how much packaging goes into a finished product. You know, the toy box that has plastic bags inside to contain yet another multitude of more bags to hold individual pieces...

I had one plastic pumpkin as a kid. It lasted me until I stopped trick-or-treating, and it still holds the candy goodies that my parents pass out to the neighborhood kids. If I'd ever lost that pumpkin, my mother probably would have told me to make my own.

/end rant. Again, great post.