The Coast News Group
Community Commentary

What’s up with the soup?

“One product that is virtually impossible to recycle and never biodegrades is plastic foam.” 

Styro-plastic-fantastic-foam! Some people think New York City’s former Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a kook, but I respect him for being a leader with the cajones to address controversial environmental issues. More of our leaders need to step up to the plastic plate!

We have been taught to believe recycling is the answer, and that is not necessarily true.

The science is clear and abundant, and it is time for leadership.

One of the main objections to banning single-use packaging often voiced by consumers is about soup. If I need some soup and the only container offered to me by my favorite “Soup-Nazi” is polystyrene, I tell him, “No customer for you! No reusable container, no money for you!”

I love a certain Mexican soup place in Encinitas, but recently I walked-out soupless when they refused to fill my container. I prefer my own sustainable packaging from which I will not get sick and die. Apparently a pot is OK with them, but not a Pyrex glass jar. What’s wrong with Corning or Mason jars from our cupboards?

Put the soup in the glass container, no problem. Place it on the floor in the back seat. Instead of plasticized water by the case, carry a box or ice chest for such purposes, no problem. Apply to other take-out packaging challenges. No more objections: we must rid ourselves of as much single-use packaging as possible. And, the straws, lids, bags, bottles, etc.

Paper will biodegrade; plastic and “Styro-crap” don’t. Claims of biodegradability are mostly unproven in new recycled products. Don’t be fooled: chemical plasticizers will always be with us, regardless of the substrate. Claims of reusing and recycling plastic don’t change the fact that it never ever goes away!!

Sushi places also package everything in Styrofoam. I have never seen so much addiction to plastic as in Oriental cultures. Six layers of plastic for everything; plastic plants, dishes, clothes, toys, furniture, lotions, and potions, everything made in China! Cheap and hygienic? Not really.

Am I an extremist? Green freak nut job? No, I’m just a sensible well-informed concerned individual willing to change my habits to preserve my health and yours. Is it inconvenient and uncomfortable to change? Sure. But, we are facing global disaster if we don’t figure out how to protect the oceans and streams from garbage. This is not a progressive agenda about big government forcing us to give up our rights and freedoms. On this subject, people like Sean Hannity don’t know what they’re talking about. For our benefit and the survival of future generations of humans and wildlife, we must wise up.

The seas are trying to spit this stuff out by the toxic tons onto beaches all over the world. It is killing birds, fish, turtles, whales, coral reefs — creatures large and small. Wildlife progeny is being infected with “gender-bending” attacks on their endocrine systems, and humans are not immune.

A new documentary, “Plastic Paradise”, by Southern California daughter, Angela Sun, is full of the latest data that has actually been known for decades. A powerful film! See it and weep. Then get busy and address your personal plastic addiction because there is no harvesting the Gyres.

The ocean will eventually heal itself if we give it a chance, but make no mistake: there is no recycling our way out of this mess. Years of beach clean-ups are not making a dent in the garbage we discard. Will you take it to the next level and help halt what I call “The Plastic Pollution Pandemic”? This is a uniting cause, worthy of encouragement and respect in our government leaders who are finally willing to act. We can’t live without a healthy ocean, but we can choose to live without soup in Styrofoam and gazillions of plastic not-so-fantastic bags!

Celia Kiewit is an Encinitas resident.



Darla Trimm December 6, 2013 at 9:06 am

I agree wholeheartedly. Our society has been too lazy and selfish to care about future generations. It would only take some common sense and concern on our part to try to turn these issues around. We need to care about the important problems and solve them as best we can. If we could direct our interests from the trivial to these matters we could make a huge difference. We may look upon a solution as being overwhelming and difficult, but together we can make real headway. We need to prioritize our matters and take care of that which takes care of us,
our environment. Thank you,Celia, for writing such an important editorial and for offering some real ideas and solutions for the problem. Darla

celia kiewit November 29, 2013 at 11:49 am

Referring to Barbara Henry’s last article in the U-T on this subject,let’s wait some more while those in Sacra-Demento procrastinate and cave to the lobbyists from the plastic industry. Gaspar and Muir are pathetic. AND, no one is advocating for more paper bag usage. Wise up!

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