The war on plastic packaging

  john bunyan 06:54 11 Jan 2018
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The scourge of non biodegradable plastics has got to crisis levels, clearly. This needs to be tackled in many ways. At the retail shop level , surely most fruit and veg could be loose or in paper bags; for items needing a bit of protection, egg box type trays should be possible. Most polythene wrapping could move back to Cellophane (Cellulose) film that is biodegradable, although the process has issues. A major, world wide effort is urgently needed.

  Forum Editor 08:28 11 Jan 2018
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A major, world wide effort is urgently needed.

That's for sure, but it will take a long time, and will be fraught with all kinds of problems. That our love affair with plastic packaging has reached ludicrous heights is evidenced by Sainsburys offering shrink-wrapped coconuts for sale.

large amounts of fruit and vegetables are sold without packaging, but soft and easily bruised fruits couldn't be sold that way. There is already a big problem with apples in supermarkets because under the food standards rules an apple cannot be offered for sale as class A if it has a single bruise. People pick over the apples to find 'perfect' examples, and in doing so they bruise lots of them.

What's really needed is urgent research into biodegradable alternatives for packaging materials.

  QuizMan 08:30 11 Jan 2018

So the Government plans to introduce ways to reduce the use of plastics in our society. This is a good thing, but I do not see plastic use as the real problem here. For example, Plastic does not not get in the seas and on our beaches through the use of plastic, it is through the thorough thoughtlessness of individuals that do not dispose of used packaging in a considerate manner.

This has been going on for far too long. There is the occasional "Clean up Britain" type campaign that is waged in this country, but it is a half-hearted approach at best. There is a huge need for the re-education of the population (and this is world-wide, not just the UK) to show the major impact one thoughtless action can have on the world in which we live. Time and time again, we see examples in our high streets of people just discarding rubbish willy-nilly and it is by young and old alike. It seems now to be a normal habit to treat the streets and neighbourhoods as our personal dustbins.

  morddwyd 10:50 11 Jan 2018

What's the alternative? Back to paper bags and wood shavinhgs instead of bubble wrap?

Wait until people have to start paying the postage on wooden boxes.

Biodegradable is a non-starter. Many supermarket bags have been biodegradable for some year, and I don't know about England and Wales but in Scotland the use of paper bags are also subject to a charge, and theses are fully biodegradable, as anyone who has had the bottom fall out of one in the rain knows only too well!

This is a populist measure with an eye on poll ratings rather than the planet.

  john bunyan 11:05 11 Jan 2018

Paper bags would be OK for the oranges, carrots etc. Cellulose film is also OK , as is fibre (egg box type) There is an enormous surplus of newsprint, much of which could be recycled. I agree about the bottom of large paper bags - it happened to me in Ireland. Use your own bigger shopping bags, as I now do.

  Gordon Freeman 11:31 11 Jan 2018

The government needs to push this back to the packaging manufacturers & sellers of goods to reach a viable non-plastic & biodegradable solution. Yes [shamefully] we're part of the problem, but so are those other 2 stakeholders. I'd add recycling/waste firms into the mix too to increase the number of plants which can actually deal with plastic recycling [I think there are currently only 3 in UK].

Worldwide this is a problem I've seen this in the Caribbean & elsewhere], so education is key. Owing to lack of awareness/education, in some parts of the world they just don't give a toss about the, or their, environment. One main example, take a look at the river Ganges in India; they should be ashamed frankly. [Ganges pollution

And as for extending the plastic bag charge to smaller retail outlets, & the likely introduction of the 'latte levy'...is punishing the consumer again really the answer?

We need to get manufacturers of these plastic items to start thinking outside of their particular box & do their part.

  Cymro. 11:45 11 Jan 2018

Plastic is one of the curses of modern life we think we can't do without. We used to manage perfectly well without any plastic so surely it must be possible to reduce the amount we now use.

  BT 12:31 11 Jan 2018

Back to paper bags and wood shavings instead of bubble wrap?

Even that has its disadvantages. Amazon for example now use crumpled low grade paper as protective packaging in its boxes, but those boxes are often massively too big for the contents. I recently bought a Nokia phone battery and it came in a box that could have held about 100 of them easily. Yesterday I received a toilet brush (a cheap Add On item to make up £20 for free postage) It was sent separately from the main order in a box that could have held at least a dozen of them. It always seems such a waste to have to put these perfectly good boxes in the recycle bin along with yards of paper packaging.

  morddwyd 13:31 11 Jan 2018

* Plastic is one of the curses of modern life we think we can't do without. *

What an incredibly narrow view to take.

Try asking those with plastic hip joints to do without it.

Plastic offers tremendous weight saving benefits, reducing transport cost and the use of fossil fuels.

Yes we used to do without it, but at a vastly creased cost.

We don't need to ban it, just use it more sensibly.

  wee eddie 14:14 11 Jan 2018

MD: Spot on

  Simsy 11:24 15 Jan 2018

What would undoubtably help would be deposits on all containers.

In USA, (at least in the 7 or 8 states I've been to), almost every can or bottle has a deposit of either 5 or 10 cents. The supermarkets, including independents, are geared up to accept these containers back.

It seems a "no-brainer" to me that the same should happen everywhere. What's needed to make it happen is the "Will" to make it happen.

The 5p charge for plastic carriers has, it seems, made an impact, at least in this country. Globally however, it's unfortunately perhaps insignificant.

The comedian Sean Locke one said that the efforts we're making here in UK, when compared to what's happening in the USA and china, with regard to environmental concerns is like "turning up to help an earthquake zone with a dustpan and brush". I fear he may be right... but we should still do what we can, and recycling has got to be the easiest, most effective way, to make the biggest, quickest impact, Surely?

Regards,

Simsy

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