Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Classic Kiwiana

For Waitangi Day [NB - this really was written on Waitangi Day, Feb. 6, but Blogger appears to have me in the wrong time zone], here are a few Kiwi classics that rely on oil. In many cases, the oil could be avoided with minimal effort, but for the moment oil is essential to the production of:

Pineapple lumps - and not just the plastic bag. The yellow pigment is tartrazine, an azo dye synthesized from coal tar (not strictly oil, but still a fossil fuel).

The All Blacks - from the fabric and pigments of their uniforms to the spikes of their boots and the polyester in the balls, oil is all through rugby. And that's before we get onto fuel for transport and all the oil involved in the infrastructure of marketing, stadia, broadcasting etc.

Jaffas - use the same tartrazine as pineapple lumps as well as another yellow, sunset yellow, and Ponceau 4R, all of which are made from coal tar.

Jandals - typically made of EVA rubber mix, where the rubber may come from rubber trees but the EVA refers to ethylene/vinyl acetate copolymer.

gumboots - in the colours and the PVC

Buzzy bees - the colours and the shiny finish, plus the wings and wheels are quite often made of plastic.

Edmonds Cookbook - the ink, the shiny finish on the cover and the plastic coating to the wire spiral binding

Chocolate fish - the pink colour is the azo dye azorubine although I was surprised to find that the emulsifier used (sorbitan stearate) is derived from sugar and natural fats, rather than oil as I expected.

Black wool singlets - dyed with an oil-derived sulfide dye

hokey pokey icecream - sunset yellow and tartrazine give the hokey pokey bits their yellow colouring.

Ah well, at least we can still have pavlova, number 8 wire, kiwifruit, meat pies and fish 'n chips!

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