Back in October, I argued that governments should Ban New Plastic because we can’t just keep bringing new plastic into the world until it suffocates. We’ve already made so much plastic that we shouldn’t need any more as we should be able to just recycle what we have. Well, one example of what can be done presented itself to me recently when I bought a recycled bucket made from old car tyres.
We don’t think about crisp packets too often do we? We just enjoy the crisps, without realising that almost all crisp packets are not recyclable and will end up in landfill (or worse!) for a very long time. The good news is that a British company called Two Farmers has come up with a way of creating compostable crisp packets, which is fantastic, and they taste great too!
Compostable Crisp Packets
It’s amazing that a small start-up company in the UK has been able to beat all the big manufacturers to a compostable crisp packet. Amazing, but understandable. We’ll see later what’s really going on here.
I was completely shocked recently when I ordered a “Mobility Lab” mouse from Amazon and the package arrived with so much plastic packaging. It’s really awful, so unnecessary and none of it recyclable. In this case, Mobility Lab and Amazon plastic packaging is so bad, they should both be ashamed, and governments need to step in and stop such usage of plastic.
I was flying on a short flight in Europe recently and, I’m sorry to say, that I needed some water so I bought one (as you have to do on flights these days) from the flight crew. I know, it’s in a plastic bottle that’s just going to get thrown away (sorry planet!). The bottle I received was from Harrogate Spring Water and I was surprised to learn that it was 50% recycled.
This made me feel somewhat better as Harrogate Spring Water was using 50% materials that had already been recycled. That’s great and they need applause for that. If everyone did that it would be a great step forward.
However of course, we’d like companies to go even further. Why can’t they move to 100% recycled plastic? I’m sure one of the arguments would be the cost and that this might make them uncompetitive compared to other companies who just don’t care about the environment. This is exactly why I believe there should be a total ban on new plastics (as I discussed in my post – Ban New Plastic). This would be the most effective way to protect the world, by ensuring that we don’t create any more new plastic – we’ve already created more than enough.
I bought some pool chemicals online a couple a weeks ago from a company called UK Pool Store and I was pleasantly surprised that there was no plastic in the packaging. They’d used just some paper based padding to protect the items. Unfortunately, these chemical products came in plastic containers, but that’s another story – everyone really has to use recycled plastics for containers like these, and that should be the law.
At home, we regularly send packages of artwork as a result of our fabhappy.com site, but we always use recycled products for the packaging. Every time we order something online, we keep the box and the materials they used for the packaging, and make sure they are used at least one time more.
One of the things that’s worrying me more and more as each day goes by is plastic. It’s everywhere and there are more and more reports on TV (and everywhere) about the huge problems disposed plastic is causing for the world. So, I keep wondering why the world can’t just ban new plastic. That might sound extreme, but it makes plenty of sense to me and it would definitely work.
I’m not talking about banning plastic completely, which would be impossible. But what if, from today onwards, all the plastic used by corporations had to be recycled?
Plastic is a huge problem
I was astonished when I read this article on The Economist – Only 9% of the world’s plastic is recycled. For me, the key details in this article are;
- (obviously!) only 9% of the world’s plastic is recycled
- Since the 1950’s, we have created 4.9 billions tonnes of plastic that is still in circulation (that is, not recycled or burned)
- Our seas hold as many as 51 trillion microplastic particles
This graph from the article created some alarm for me;
It’s nice to find good companies, trying to do the right thing for the world occasionally. Recently, I was on a train trip in the UK and bought a bottle of water, and got a pleasant surprise from the company called Wenlock Spring.
Generally, I don’t like buying water in a plastic bottle because it’s just adding more waste plastic into the world, but sometimes you just have to (do I really??). In this case, I was glad to see the comments on the bottle from Wenlock Spring (i hope all these comments are for real). Continue reading Wenlock Spring Water
‘Canvas Bags’ – a fun song and video from Tim Minchin. This was posted back in 2011 but it’s still just as relevant today.
This song reminds us that we, the consumers, have the ability to change everything. All we have to do is refuse to use conventional plastics and the world will change. It will have to. One way for us to do this is to simply stop using plastic for carry bags, and refusing it when anyone in a shop offers us a plastic shopping bag.
I love the theatre and irreverence that Tim Minchin brings to this topic through this song. It simultaneously bears an important message and is a lot of fun. Continue reading Canvas Bags
I saw this article in the news recently and it caused me to pause and take stock. The article was in The Guardian and it was called “Our natural world is disappearing before our eyes. We have to save it.” by George Monbiot. Some of the comments in the article that had the most impact on me were;
- The swift decline of the swift (down 25% in five years)
- I have lived long enough to witness the vanishing of wild mammals, butterflies, mayflies, songbirds and fish that I once feared my grandchildren would not experience: it has all happened faster than even the pessimists predicted.
- The cause of this acceleration is no mystery. The United Nations reports that our use of natural resources has tripled in 40 years.
- The great expansion of mining, logging, meat production and industrial fishing is cleansing the planet of its wild places and natural wonders.
- What economists proclaim as progress, ecologists recognise as ruin.
- the rush to carve up the last intact forests; the vanishing of coral reefs, glaciers and sea ice; the shrinkage of lakes, the drainage of wetlands. The living world is dying of consumption.
- We have a fatal weakness: a failure to perceive incremental change.
- Watching the cutters being driven at great speed across the field, he realised that any remaining wildlife would be shredded… he went to investigate, he found her fawn, its legs amputated.
- The merger between Bayer and Monsanto brings together the manufacturer of the world’s most lethal pesticides with the manufacturer of the world’s most lethal herbicides.
- We forget even our own histories.
It wasn’t a good thing to begin with (ie. eating tortilla chips) but then I turned the bag around and I was shocked. The plastic bag had written on it “recyclenow.com” and then “BAG – PLASTIC not currently recycled”.
How can this be legal? How can a company be allowed to make a plastic that’s not currently recyclable? That would be so easy to stop.
Here are some of the steps I often think could help solve the plastic problem; Continue reading Plastic Not Currently Recycled