food packaging complaint message to supermarkets and manufacturers

Please send this message to supermarkets and manufacturers.

The problem: I saw a "made from 100% recycled plastic" label on my soda bottle and other food packaging

Why it is a problem: Plastic that comes into direct contact with wet foodstuff should never be made of recycled plastic, because it will chemically react and release unwanted substances into the food, which always happens with all plastics to some degree, especially if the food is acidic (juices, lemonade, vinegar, tomatoes, etc.) or the container is subjected to heat or sunlight.

Concerning recycled plastics, consumers and manufacturers cannot escape to rely on blind faith alone in order to determine if the source materials have not been contaminated with toxic substances commonly found in other plastics, such as Bisphenol A, plastic softeners, other auxiliary chemical agents or whatever potentially harmful substances from the utilized waste stream sources that may have accidentally entered the recycling chain. Some of the substances that are commonly found in high quantities in plastic waste are highly potent in the microgram range and can for example cause abnormal mental and physiological developments in children, such as feminization, diabetes, obesity, ADHD or autism.

In addition to that, the percentage of additives and pollutants found in the material necessarily increases with each additional recycling cycle. A plastic bottle that has already been recycled 10 times in a row also contains 10 times as many additives. Additives are a necessary part of the recycling and production process. This way we could easily end up drinking from plastic bottles that are hundreds of times more contaminated than pristine plastics. All plastic additives are a potential health hazard and have only been classified as safe, because they are rendered mostly inert inside the polymer, so that the small amounts released into the food from pristine plastics are generally considered to be negligible. However several studies have shown that this is not universally true, especially if heat and acid are at play, and the assumed rate of release is multiplied by orders of magnitude.

Recycled plastic has no place in food packaging like drinking bottles, cheese or meat wrapping, in which the food comes into direct contact with the plastic and the food is in a wet/processed state, which makes it chemically reactive. This plastic must always be freshly made, as it has always been the case so far, in order to avoid potential health concerns.

 

German version:

So what should we do now?

Concerning bottled water switching to glass bottles is comparably very expensive, and for very good reasons. A reusable glass bottle is almost as heavy as the water that it carries, whereas a single-use PET bottle can hold 100 times its weight in water (it weighs about 15g). Glass also needs to be transported inside heavy plastic boxes that shield it from damage, and the empty bottles also need to be transported back to be reconditioned and refilled. This means that the trucks transporting the bottles use more that twice the fuel, which makes up most of the carbon footprint of PET bottled water. In addition to that glass bottles have to be made inside extremely hot furnaces running at around 20 times the temperatures required by PET bottle manufacturing. At 100 times the mass of a PET bottle, this is not negligible, even if a glass bottle is on average reused 50 times in a row. It translates to roughly 2000 times the energy from heat during glass bottle manufacturing, or 40 times the energy for each time you use it. This calculation is obviously much much worse for single-use glass containers, which have by far the worst carbon footprint of all food packaging. On the other hand PET bottles from a refund system have a close to 100% recycling rate and can be made into other materials, e.g. polyester fabrics, non-food packaging or casings for electronic devices, which means that they are not a pollutant to the environment.

So due to the high carbon footprint, glass bottles are obviously very bad for the environment. Naturally, this directly reflects in price (twice as expensive), as it also does with any other product, at least roughly as a rule of thumb.

Fortunately water quality in Germany is very high, and you can simply use tap water here. In a lot of regions the tap water is on par or even superior to a lot of bottled water brands. However due to the recent drought and heat wave here, the quality of our water reservoir has suffered somewhat, which is why I personally had switched to bottled water temporarily.

I also preferred to use PET bottles as drinking bottles, because they were guaranteed to be food-safe and free of pollutants. When you buy a plastic bottle on Amazon, you really don't know much of anything about it. The original manufacturer could be in the developing world, where standards are as low as 8 year old children permanently living inside giant waste dump towns and making a living by collecting any sort of plastic item for recycling. There could also be harmful additives in it to make it more durable. Metal bottles will cause more mercury to dissolve from amalgam fillings by electrochemical reaction, and aluminium is toxic much like mercury itself. This only leaves glass bottles now that PET bottles have become questionable. They are a huge waste of space though in a back pack, twice as heavy too, and they damage easily.

Concerning other food packaging, there seems to be no option but to write complaint letters or go into politics. If you only consider how pervasive aluminium has been in food packaging, despite its extreme toxicity with up to 7 year long half-life, then it is obvious that this will probably just lead nowhere at all. Up to this day some aluminium still comes into direct contact with food, due to lack of plastic lamination, and in fact most of a person's aluminium load is directly caused by food packaging. If people are not outright dropping dead from the poison but only poisoned a little bit, it just doesn't pack enough punch in politics to change much of anything at all.

This recycling fad is clearly going too far where it is starting to impact our health and it pushes us into alternative solutions that are in fact much worse for the environment. People need to move away from the idea that recycling is universally good, and that plastic is universally bad. Such a blind attitude only proves to be exploitable and harmful to everyone.

transgender tolerance short educational flyer (en & de)

in Germany about 0.008% of the population is diagnosed as transsexual [1]. This makes transsexual rights an extremely low priority in terms of minority rights, and it means that discussing this topic at all diverts our attention away from the great many of other minority groups that we could be more considerate and mindful about. Such as people suffering from depression (500 times more prevalent) or PTSD (1000 times more prevalent), or the thousands of people who die every year, because they are denied access to new experimental treatments. An almost endless list of similar topics exist that are literally thousands of times more important, because they affect much more people much more seriously, we can exert much more influence on them and we share more responsibility of them. It is therefore objectionable to even mention transsexual rights, in terms of improving society, in almost any situation.

Yet it seems this topic has become a cultural gag to many, a part time hobby to instigate discord with, vent off hate against people of different opinion and make themselves feel more virtuous than the other side, each inside their own ignorance. Politics and media institutions cash in on it as well, amplify it and bend it to their liking. In many ways this huge call-out on the topic makes the situation just much worse for transgendered people. Yet people continue to push it onto others, bend their mind around it and fight about it as some form of disturbed entertainment. It needs to stop.

The injection of this new radical ideology into our culture, which tries to turn the nature of human existence and biological realities upside down, creates a lot of ill effects. Actual harm can arise from this to a great many of people on the long run, especially children and teenagers. This is why I wrote this very concise flyer as a printout in order to appeal to reason, educate and confront people about transgenderism, but in the real world, the offline world. Far away from the media circus, and far away from filter and lobbying bubbles in the highly volatile, censored and manipulated online content that we see today.

You are invited to print it out and hand it to others if the topic creates problems in your community.

DIY horn

It is so good, you could easily use this horn to play in a concert and it can be very loud. If you have never blown a horn before, it requires at least a few 5-10 minute practice sessions to get a good tone out of it, a week to be able to blow very very loudly and weeks to months to play tunes that are pleasant to listen to. You tense your lips differently, to cause different vibrations which generate the sound. The longer the hose the more notes are possible, but the more difficult it is.

Great for protests, kids or if you are thinking about playing a blowing instrument but don't want to make any investments.

Polycaprolactone is very safe. Don't use epoxy because of bisphenol A.


 

Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Whatsapp: You should boycott it too

I deleted my Instagram content.

Censorship is getting worse on all social media, including Youtube. Even the president of the United States along with dozens of his employees were censored for voicing a troublesome opinion that could make people behave in unwanted ways. If you are uploading to such a platform, you are directly supporting such a toxic, undemocratic environment.

In addition to censorship, the EU is now (summer 2021) suspending fundamental privacy laws in order to make way for a gigantic mass-surveillance program, the biggest and most dramatic yet world-wide ever to be created. Any private text messages of any person anywhere, including pictures and videos, will be saved in some domestic data center plus copied abroad to a privately controlled company inside the US (likely owned or sniffed by the NSA) in order to be screened by AI surveillance algorithms. Because the false positive rate of those algorithms is as high as about 90%, thousands of human agents will be necessary to constantly check on it, and they therefore must be granted some form of (probably VPN-alike) access to all your private messages and those of any other person you know in any EU country. You can read more about it here.

Any commercial program, such as Whatsapp, Wire or Signal is being forced by the EU to send those clear-text copies of your messages to selected third parties for surveillance. Pretty much the only alternative left to use is called XMPP and you have to use an open source client.

Concerning Instagram I will some day migrate my content to Pixelfed, which is very alike it. But Pixelfed is not quite ready yet as of spring 2021. It is literally just one more step away from it. As an alternative to that, I could just post pictures here on my blog in a gallery. But I would rather like to post them to a community specialized on pictures.

If you are still using autocratic platforms or services controlled by large companies or governments then please just stop using them.

It is time to care now about the digital environments that we are in, and that we support and legitimize by our continued use. Like we care about democracy and what parties we elect, we need to care about what software we elect to use and whether or not it grants us fundamental rights and freedoms. If we don't care, some day we will find ourselves in a digital fascist regime that looks like 1984. Are you the kind of person who sits idly by, out of ignorance and comfort, until denying it no longer hides the pain of living in it?

Censorship never directly affect silent consumers. Think about it: How would you ever notice that your reality has been tampered with? Censorship affects content creators, journalists, activists, people with difficult opinions and in difficult positions. That is, the people who present the reality that you see to you.

Mass-surveillance never affects average Joe, it only affects people of importance. That is people like Edward Snowden who uncover war crimes. Journalists and activists who uncover conflicts of interest. People who are deemed a bad influence on society, because they question the state or they advocate certain truths that can easily be misunderstood. And people who have been wrongfully targeted out of error or carelessness. In other words: it potentially targets anyone who is important to the integrity of our society and our fundamental values. As long as you never stand up for anything in this world, mass-surveillance and censorship won't directly affect you. But you are trapping people who really matter into those platforms by proxy.

This is exactly why censorship must be fought in any form and with any means necessary.

And especially by us, me and you, who are not directly affected.