Use the waste plastic to create common food /drinks /goods containers which can we washed heat treated and reused
I agree that there should be a law that forbids the production and sale of all single use plastic packaging (and other single use plastic items in general: incl. bags, drinks stirrers, straws, plastic in tea bags, toiletries packaging, etc.). Just because bags now cost 5p, that doesn’t mean that people don’t just bin them or leave them to fly around in nature. I do a lot of hiking and it is atrocious to see the amount of plastic littering the countryside and floating along our waterways (the worst thing is that I can’t even safely pick the trash out of the middle of the Itchen, so I assume that it will soon enough end up in the sea). Naturally, this is a problem caused by lazy and careless consumers, but as these will unfortunately keep existing, I think that it is the government’s duty to prevent further damage by banning the production of said items.
As a solution for supermarkets: they could sell reusable containers to pack meat, fish and cheese into, which people can bring back time and time again. Alternatively, people could bring the conatiners back under a deposit return system, in which supermarkets then take responsibility for sterelising and reusing the containers over and over again.
As an alternative to fruit and veg bags, shops could offer reusable mesh bags, as some smaller placesalready do. Generally, no fruit or veg should be wrapped.
Yoghurt pots and drinks containers could be made of glass, returned, sterelised and reused. This is common practice in a number of places on the continent (e.g. Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg, etc.)
We no longer have time for half-hearted partial fixes. We need to get a move on and stop polluting the planet, while there still may be a chance to fix anything. Bans on plastic packaging would also stop councils polluting our air by burning it (saying it won’t go to landfill doesn’t make it better…nobody really wants to breathe in toxic plastic fumes)
I certainly think the UK government should start by banning the manufacture, sale and use of all single-use plastic items. The ultimate aim should be to ban the manufacture, sale and use of all new plastic.
But some of this “single-use” plastic is perfectly reusable. A plastic water bottle should see many uses before it gets lost or broken, and it has a very much lower carbon footprint than (for example) a stainless steel bottle, which will also eventually get lost or broken.
Sainsbury’s is now doing 10p plastic bags which seem to have an good lifespan; I’ve had my current bags for a few months with no serious signs of damage.
It’s the plastic food packaging that’s the real problem since the consumer is forced to buy the packaging with every purchase of food; reuse is impossible. Containers that can be refilled by the consumer seem like an easier option than a massive packaging reuse infrastructure, since there would be no need to standardize the containers.
There’s much in what you say that I agree with. I think the time for procrastination is over and a total ban on single use plastics needs to be enshrined in law. As you suggest, there are many alternatives which some supermarkets seem willing to implement.
Britain’s recycling record is way behind other counties and it should be remembered that many plastics can only be recycled so many times. It should be made clear that biodegradable plastic just means it breaks down into many thousands of tiny pieces of plastic. Compostable means it breaks down completely.
I totally agree, I think many people are missing the point that the actual production of plastic is causing pollution, not just when it ends up in our oceans or land fills. We get milk delivered in glass bottles, and it’s great. The government should invest funding for re-using glass containers rather than wasting it on the recycling industry which is not solving the problem. It would also be better for our heath to not have food in plastic
But people are not reusing these items , and a very low percentage are being recycled , 66 million people all using multiple plastic items per day from food and drinks packaging to cosmetics medications ,and non consumable packaging . We actually don’t need to produce fizzy drinks at all, they are bad for health and the plastic bad for the environment . The stuff that’s boosting our so called economy is destroying the planet.
This info-graphic says it all, but I actually think we just need to use less rather than reusing it
Totally agree, we are sacrificing our planet for money - very sad!
Plastics are mostly produced from oil, of which there is a limited supply. They are virtually unrecyclable in the true sense of the word and reducing polymers back to their basic molecules requires large amounts of energy (which usually come from fossil fuels). Schemes that simply re-use plastics (in road surfaces for example) leave those plastics in the environment and so do not provide a solution. Plastic and plastic waste is not bio-degradable and remains in the environment (either whole or broken down into smaller particles) where it pollutes land, rivers and seas, damaging or killing wildlife.
The oil that is used to make plastics is also needed to produce other organic substances needed in other industries (such as pharmaceuticals) and they should be a priority over unnecessary plastics. The only solution is to stop producing plastics and use alternative, re-usable and recycleable materials. However, to be practical, my view is that plastics should continue to be used for certain products that are multi-use and where they need to be made from plastic to be effective. This would mostly apply to medical uses (dentures for example) and use as an insulator in small electronic components (such as circuit boards). All other uses should be phased out and eventually banned.
This will require a different view of land use and management to allow for more sources of fibres (cotton, hemp etc.) and wood (trees) to be grown alongside food production.
Biodegradeable from the outset is key - not just recyclable… (that means less energy is used which is great, but it needs to be safe to go back to the environment at some point).
Absolutely agree with the above comments. If we need to use plastic, make it recyclable, however I know it can be recycled so many times, so go back one and no plastic. Our local high street butcher has just started using polystyrene base and cling film for his goods, this has disappointed me greatly. How did we manage before plastic came around?
Totally agree, there should be a ban on production of all new plastics. We need to act now to try and save our beautiful planet. It will take legislation to do it.