Now God Hates Plastic... It's Official!
Now God Hates Plastic; it’s Official
The Church of England has now joined the UK government, Prince Charles, Prince Harry and the BBC to warn us against the indulgence in “Single Use Plastics” and that we should give these up for Lent and beyond. Whilst no definition is given for “Single Use Plastics”, included on their list of products to be avoided are items such as plastic pens (with which I write) plastic toothbrushes, plastic cutlery, CD’s, DVD’s and drinks from mini bars (honest), as well as over packaged food. Whilst the use of glass bottles to replace plastic bottles is recommended. (Who cares about CO2 emissions?)
The Bishop of Chelmsford, no less, has advised his parishioners that giving up the use of plastic should be their number one priority for Lent. Presumably all the other deadly sins are now of lesser importance than their purchase of “single use plastics”. There was a time when our spiritual guardians advised us to give up drugs, cigarettes, gluttony or alcohol for lent. Now it is the demon plastic we should resist!
The foregoing of plastic for lent according to Ruth Knight, the churches Environmental Policy Manager is “To reduce the damage wreaked on the world’s Oceans by discarded plastic”. Whilst this is undoubtedly a desirable and highly laudable aspiration, I recommend to Ms Knight an absolutely brilliant and educational paper by a gentleman named Richard McKinlay [click here for the full article].
Mr McKinlay not only evaluates the potential negative impact on the environment of the use of Compostable and Bio degradable alternatives to plastic. But he also highlights the research that estimates that Europe’s and the USAs combined contribution to plastic waste in the world’s oceans is some 2%. This article is well worth a read for those serious seekers of enlightenment. Mr McKinlay does not specifically recommend the use of standard plastics, but he certainly gets to the core of the negative effect of their replacement on the environment.
Despite the tenor of my remarks, I really don’t have any wish to denigrate the efforts of Our Church, Our Government, Our Royalty and “Our BBC” to address the very real problem of dumping plastic waste, particularly when discarded in to the world’s oceans. But realistically shouldn’t they be focussing their attentions on the source of the problem, I.E. Those countries worldwide that see the discharge of all their waste into the world’s oceans as an acceptable method of waste disposal?
Equally concerning is the fact that the church (like others before them) have identified the reduction of plastics as a way to reduce global warming and environmental pollution. Even a cursory investigation by them of the negative environmental cost of the manufacturer of the packaging alternatives be they paper, board, glass or tin these all generate not only millions of tonnes of extra CO2 (particularly when recycling is added) to the environmental cost, but also millions of gallons of polluted fresh water, one of the world’s most precious resources. Why don’t organisations of the stature and influence of the Church of England bother to check the facts before pontificating on what is a serious problem for us all.
As always National Flexible will provide our customers with whichever flexible packaging material they wish to use and we are happy to do so. But we will not try to persuade them to change from existing plastic materials unless there are sound environmental and/or cost benefits to their business.
In our opinion all the UK/European efforts to reduce plastic use in its many forms will come to nothing unless we focus our efforts on preventing the countries who dump waste in the oceans from doing so (see below).
8 Million Tonnes per year of plastic is dumped in the world’s Oceans
Finally; the above 8 million tonne of plastic waste dumped in the Oceans is now constantly quoted as a fact. Albeit that its source is from research undertaken in 2014 which was based on limited investigation. But critically if this were true we know plastic packaging, in all its forms, consist of between 2-3% by weight of all domestic waste.
On that basis if the 8 million tonnes of plastic waste figure is correct, that means 320 million tonnes of other domestic waste is being deliberately dumped into those same Oceans by the guilty countries. I appreciate that plastic does not decompose in the same way as some other packaging material (excluding glass) but consider the level of the oceans pollution where these outfalls occur, then consider please.
If we eliminated the use of all plastic in all these countries then would it be acceptable to dump the other 320 million tonnes of other domestic waste in the world’s oceans?
Surely this calculation demonstrates beyond doubt that the only way to stop plastic polluting the world’s oceans is to stop the practise of waste disposal in to the world’s seas.
P.S. For those followers interested in film price trends then I can confirm manufacturers prices are still increasing steadily and there is every reason to consider this will continue unless there is a major move down in oil prices. These cost increases must mean the price of film will continue to rise until at least the half year.
As ever your views on any of the issues raised would be welcome and why not join me on LinkedIn for more regular updates.