Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Is it or isn’t it?

Even though my evasion of plastic is more than the average person, my knowledge about plastic really isn’t. This leaves me with an interesting dilemma. How am I to figure out what is and isn’t plastic (?), so that I can avoid these items, count them, and at the very least play by the rules.
Some things are obviously plastic. Some things on the other hand are in limbo. Let me explain. You see I work with children. I give them stickers—simple right? Not anymore. The backing that you peel the stickers off of…what is that? It looks like a papery substance, rips like paper, but feels smooth like plastic…or is it paper with some sort of plastic finish or is that a wax finish? I have heard of these things called “plasticizers"...what are they? They sound like how that feels. Could I possibly worry about this more than I already do? Probably not.
Not all that is smooth and shiny is plastic, right?
Well, I have developed the rudimentary “rip test” to maintain my sanity with these everyday dilemmas. So far the "test" is serving me well, I think? It is hard to determine if it's really serving me well per se, or just serving me, since I made it up and I am the one doing all the “experiments”. Not exactly a double-blind, unbiased, impartial set of experiments now is it?
Here is the simple logic I use in my test:
If it rips like paper—you know you can see the little fibers as they are pulled apart from each other—VICTORY!
Plastic has a very different rip. In fact it is hard to rip but once you get it started if you get that smooth as silk rip—that’s plastic. PUT IT DOWN. BACK AWAY SLOWLY. DON’T LOOK BACK!
As you can see it is not an exact science, which really is the whole problem, I am not a scientist. So, if you have any other ideas to help me to figure out this what is and isn’t plastic problem let me know...tootsie roll wrappers and stickers hang in the balance here. Please HELP!

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