Roland Dürre
Sunday April 7th, 2013

Cough Syrup and “No Waste” …

At winter’s end (?), I finally caught it myself: the nose started running, the neck hurt, I started coughing. To be sure, I was not totally incapacitated, but still, I felt rather handicapped. It was not a nice phase, and as of now, it is not yet quite over, either.

Of course, I tried to alleviate my ailments. On the whole, I consumed two boxes of cough sweets and a small bottle of “Spitzwegerich”.

The cough syrup came in glass bottles that held 150 ml. The glass bottle had a powerful plastic screw cap and was packed into a cardboard box. It also included a long product description and a measuring container! The measuring container had markings for 5, 10, 15 and 20 ml (millilitres).

What a ridiculous amount of effort for just a little sugared “Spitzwegerich” and some alcohol!

Firstly, I tried to follow the manual and pour the appropriate amount into the plastic measuring container, before consuming it. No easy task. To be sure, the measuring container made it possible to give precisely the right amount of fluid, but it was impossible to get all of this sticky substance into my mouth in one go.

Even my otherwise rather agile tongue capitulated before the task. Afterwards, I had to carefully rinse the measuring container, which was all but easy. And then I had to put it back onto the bottle to avoid losing it. It was a really sticky affair.

In my childhood, things were done differently. They did not produce plastic waste. The proper amount was listed in “teaspoons”. Every household had a teaspoon.

A spoon is a highly developed and refined tool. Mouth and tongue can easily and completely take up what is in it. It is a tool you can easily clean. During the remaining days of my medication time, I decided in favour of this traditional method.

Why do they even produce nonsense like measuring containers? It is unconceivable that these measuring containers make it possible to actually get the amount absolutely correct, because you never get it all out of the container.

No! It all happens because some fraudulent product designers want to persuade the customer that there is allegedly some advantage to the new method. Isn’t this product designed in ever such a practical and innovative way? The measuring container is a fire signal for the great fake they use to make a fool of the stupid consumer on all levels.

And then I think of all the many millions of stupid plastic measuring containers for cough syrup and similar medication being let loose on our planet in this way.

I chose this example very deliberately, because the plastic container for cough syrup shows on a very small scale how irrational and stupid we act when dealing with our resources. Of course, weighing only three grams (I weighed it), the measuring container is a negligible entity and as such totally “irrelevant”.

But whenever I think of all the masses of plastic containers that are a lot bigger and serve as package material for all kinds of products, it gives me pause. This madness starts with small things and will beat us with big things. Thus, the cough syrup is a good symbol of useless waste, where small waste is justified because it is nothing compared with the big waste. And we are stupid animals for slaughter, who agree with every stupidity. Take the buttermilk out of plastic containers or the Coffee2Go we carry around.

Even if it seems maniacally small-minded to me, I have started to avoid products with too much packaging wherever I can. No more food in plastic containers or tetra-pack, no cosmetics in plastic bottles or pressurized dispenser, no tins and deep-freeze food. These are all things I no longer buy for my personal use.

And you know what – it works quite well! And it does not mean the least bit of impediment for me. On the contrary, it improves my joy in life. Just like, ever since I stopped driving a car, I feel even better than before. Except that the common thoughtlessness I see in many of my contemporaries now hurts even more. Because, after all, I know how I, myself, used to let myself fall victim to all those charms.

Why don’t we just put a stop to this stupidity and combine our forces to fight this industrial mania?

(Translated by EG)

1 Kommentar zu “Cough Syrup and “No Waste” …”

  1. Chris Wood (Tuesday April 9th, 2013)

    I have occasionally used a nasal spray for the night, to avoid waking with a dry throat. There used to be little flexible plastic bottles, with a tiny hole in the top. If one shakes the bottle, a drop of fluid sticks to the hole. Then when the bottle is squeezed a bit, this drop becomes a spray.
    It was easy to add a little water to the fluid, which was too concentrated for me. Then I found that just water did the job unless I had a real cold.

    These were replaced by tiny glass bottles either with a complex plastic spraying mechanism, or with a rubber/glass syringe with which one could drip the fluid into the nose, (always too much, and the syringe did not pick up the last fluid in the little bottle).
    With these bottles one could still dilute the fluid, but not so easily.
    But then the design changed so that the spray mechanism could not be removed to add water.
    Now I just wake up with a dry throat.

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