Make hay while the sun shines is a proverb that I stand by. So, out I went with my spade today, first to dig a trench and then to fill it with kitchen waste and shredded paper. My compost bin is full, you see, and I had success a couple of winters ago when I did the same. Well, at least I got a fair amount of unexpected potatoes!
Anyway, here is my newly filled trench with 100% organic matter.
Had I not decided to do this job, though, I might never have made a rather surprising discovery. My spade didn’t quite go into the soil at one point and at first I thought it was a stone in the way. Then I realised it was plastic. A Walkers crisp packet no less, dated 1997.
Now, the house was built in 1998 so my guess is that the builders must have simply put top soil over the litter rather than clearing the ground before completing the garden. However it got there, all the same, it clearly wouldn’t have gone away any time soon, had I not been keen on gardening.
Of course, this is just one piece of plastic. But it is a vivid reminder that plastic is a pollutant, from start to finish. It doesn’t decompose. It just sits there, and if we are lucky someone collects it up and disposes of it in a slightly safer manner, before an animal chokes on it, for example.
In this case, I doubt the worms and slugs found it unduly problematic. However, that is far from the point. How much such waste are our descendants going to find? I just hope they have learned without hardship that plastic crisp packets are a bad idea. Full stop.
© Helen Butt, November 2013