For decades, plastic pollution and landfill sites have been an ongoing topic of concern, yet little has been done.
The quest for sustainable packaging has been a topic since the 1980’s as recycling became an important topic.
Keep Britain Tidy was a common saying on waste bins in parks up and down the country, yet 30 years on, we still have major issues as it appears that sustainable packaging is delayed.
Back in the day, our milk was delivered by milkmen, and the glass bottles returned for cleaning and reuse. Now Tetrapak dominates the milk packaging sector, producing plastic bottles plastic seals and plastic lids.
If you thought Britain had problems, developing nations like China and India with their huge populations have even bigger issues which are getting worse by the day.
Plastic is put into mountains, put into landfill sites, and also burned.
The single use plastic problem is global, not just an issue for the UK.
Packaging design companies are partly to blame, however the problem goes back to the businesses that require the packaging. McDonalds, Starbucks, Sainsbury’s, Heinz are all companies that use packaging and can easily switch to sustainable eco friendly packaging.
The UK government is very aware of the issue and are trying to tackle this issue along with everything else including a global pandemic.
Microplastic is another issue, not effecting the environment but our human bodies.
We all consume micro plastics since food packaging is plastic, cups, plates, the list goes on. Whether they cause cancer or long term health issues is as yet unknown. However the reality is that cancer is becoming more common, so chances are ingesting petroleum based plastic is not going to bring health benefits.
In 2019, before Coronavirus landed, we all saw the pictures in the news of plastic pollution.
This was a particular problem in developing nations and in the pacific, due to ocean currents plastics move with the tide.
Even with the pandemic, discarded face masks create major environmental issues.
Beach cleanup schemes have become popular to try and ease the problem, but this is a bandage on the wound, the changes need to be done at the top.
The simple answer is no, we cannot live without plastic. Plastic has become so central to our lives, that removing it now would be impossible.
However, small changes can be made.
Plastic carrier bags can be switched for fabric. Plastic toothbrushes can be switched to wooden ones and so on.
However if we all make simple choices, this will not take plastic components out of our cars, out of our homes.
The future is not looking good considering the progress that has been made in the last 30 years. Maybe this should be a topic at the next G7.