Thursday, 21 May 2009

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

What is humanity's worst invention? On the face of it we could find ourselves contending between your average atom bomb and your hydrogen bomb. Environmentalists might have a thing or two for the internal combustion engine. However, let me suggest we turn our eyes towards the simple side of things; or rather, the silly side of things. Because, if you were to ask me, there is nothing sillier than using a non-disposable cloth handkerchief to do one's nose with.
What is it, exactly, that takes place with this hankies? Well, when handkerchiefs tend to come out of their owner's pockets when the owner's nose gets runny. They rub the nose's output, absorbing the majority of it, and then they go back into the pocket so the germs can have a new habitat and so the handkerchief can be made available for reuse. As in, making sure the germs that are now on the hankie have the opportunity to go back to their host's welcoming nose or mouth. From time to time our handkerchief will go inside a washing machine to get itself cleaned; I suspect most owners do not realize that despite shedding a lot of the bugs in the washing process, the end result of a washed up handkerchief is a clean piece of cloth containing lots of nice and clean germs.
In short, what I am trying to say is that in this day and age when one has to be insane not to accept germ theory as true, there is no excuse for using a cloth handkerchief. Sure, it has the potential to be more environmentally friendly than disposable tissue paper, but hey - go ahead and choose from an environmentally responsible tissue manufacturer's products. And if you happen to use a cloth because of reason to do with tradition, then hey - you deserve to have a portable bug collection on you.

I was thinking of the above as I watched this woman standing right next to me on a very crowded train this morning. She had the appearance of someone very sick, and to clean her nose or to collect her latest sneeze she was using a cloth handkerchief that has obviously been very thoroughly used lately.
With swine flu now confirmed in Melbourne and probably soon to spread wild, people should know better. Given this morning's display it seems obvious to me we should be preparing to keep Dylan at home for an extended duration soon enough. Goodbye, leave days!


Wicked Little Critta said...

Regardless of what kind of tissue manufacturer you go with, my impression is that there's still much more waste that occurs from using disposable tissues instead of handkerchiefs.

And what's wrong with using one if you're not sick? Should we all start using disposable plates and utensils, too?

Moshe Reuveni said...

So, do you use / will you use non disposable diapers for similar reasons?
Don't take me wrong, I agree with you that disposable tissues are a great waste and have a big impact on our environment. However, visit your nearest hospital and you'd be able to report just how much disposable stuff gets thrown around there for health related reasons.
For the record, your nose output is quite germ dense even when you're healthy. Being healthy has something to do with it but not everything; I wouldn't recommend poking your @$$ when you're healthy either. Or are you going to tell me you're using cloth toilet paper?
With regards to plates: I wash my plates pretty effectively before reusing them, but with today's norm of relatively cool cloth machines washes the same does not apply to cloth tissues. And I definitely don't stuff my dirty plate in my pants' pockets.

On the more serious side, I find it sad there is not enough demand for environmentally responsible disposable tissues/diapers to create suitable offerings.