Plastic or the Real Thing

aloeRemember how supermarket cashiers used to say ‘paper or plastic?’ Now, thrifty shoppers bring their own bags. We’re encouraged to cut down on disposable plastic. Young, environmentally-conscious waitresses don’t want to give you straws. People frown on plastic bottled water and carry their own reusable carafes.

Still, so much that we use to decorate our homes is made of plastic and chemicals. Upholstery and carpets give off fumes from flame retardants, stain protectors, and moth repellents. Cabinets come plastic-coated.  It’s just part of modern manufacturing.

houseplant plastic

Photo by Madison Inouye

In the spring, when you walk into Home Goods or Michaels, (After the Christmas plastic has been moved out) you’re greeted by plastic spring plants in every size. Some look really good. It’s tempting to decorate a dark corner with a man-made rubber tree that will never drop a leaf. And succulents! The real ones even look like plastic. I’m positive someone in China could make a plastic kalanchoe that would fool a bee.

I must confess I bought a Christmas tree from Balsam Hill. They make beautiful fakes.  Mine looked like a perfectly grown spruce with natural-looking winter decorations artfully perching on the limbs. Only when you reach out to feel a bough do you realize you’re petting plastic. And of course no woodland scent wafts through the room. That I miss.

Artists have been copying nature for centuries in jewelry design, china and silver patterns, wallpaper and fabric. Why not? Nature is artfully beautiful.  They work in every medium, so why would they not use plastic as a medium?

This is my question. Do you really want to add more plastic to your home? If you have space for a real plant, get one even if it’s a philodendron or snake plant. I posted previously on plants’ amazing ability to clean the air. I can’t emphasize that enough.


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