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BBC Brainwashing – The War on Plastic

So much for the BBC’s claims of impartiality. In the 60-minute program the BBC could not find space for anyone to put the positive case for plastic, particularly plastic packaging.

Instead, we were treated with a tissue of half truths and on at least one occasion with a downright lie (this plastic will be around for hundreds, if not thousands of years).

The phrase ‘Single Use Plastic’ was used 87 times!! (Sad, I know, but I went back and counted). Never once during this diatribe did they mention that the current plastic recycling rate is over 50%, that the packaging they were showing on screen, everything from HDPE milk bottles to LDPE produce and packaging is widely collected and recycled.

The inability to separate the plastic panel from a sandwich pack became the focus of attention with obviously the plastic to blame for the lack of recyclability. No mention was made of the fact that the board content of the pack produces some 20 times more waste than the plastic, nor that its manufacture would create more CO2 emissions and use excessive amounts of water. The problem with the pack was the plastic which they suggested should be compostable, but where this composting was to be done was left to our imaginations.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, in view of the animosity displayed by Hugh Fearnley and the Team, not one supermarket dared to explain why plastic is such a fundamental part of the food supply chain and showing wrapped cucumber and apples with the insinuation that none of this plastic packaging was necessary went unchallenged. No one was prepared to make the case for the increased shelf life, nor the consequent saving in food waste. Even more damaging environmentally was the idea that all the plastic bottles, sprays and pouches found in our kitchens and bathrooms should be replaced by glass, thus generating millions of tons of extra CO2, lorries on roads and extra waste.  

This program was the BBC at its worst, its populist anti-plastic agenda feeding the viewer with a distorted view of the subject matter and presenting a grossly distorted view of what is a serious problem, namely; how do we collect, separate and recycle our plastic? 

Replacing plastic is only the solution if we are happy to create more global warming, more packaging waste and use more of the Earth’s resources. But will the BBC tell us any of this? My MP has suggested an approach to Ofcom is the best way forward and after last night’s program, the holiday is suspended whilst I contact them.

Any thoughts or comments you may have on any of the points raised would be welcome, meanwhile, why not send a copy of this to your MP and join me on LinkedIn for more regular conversations.



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Keith Barnes

Totally agree Barry. My comments have gone to Packaging Board, my MP and to the presenters

Kevin Witheford

In total agreement... this was not an impartial and informed programme on any level.... as always ill informed badly resourced and with a not so hidden ignored agenda!!!! Clearly we still all have a way to go but there is another side to this debate that is continually being ignored as primarily the retailers all want to be seen as eco evangelists!!! Whilst maintaining unsustainable profit margins.... could there be any more groups sitting on the fence? I think not!!!!

Colin Irons

This wasn’t a fair representation of what’s happening in the recycling market, but also it didn’t explain that the majority of single life plastic (especially sandwich wrappers) end up as refuse derived fuels

Andrew reynolds

Barry I am in full agreement. What really worries me is that the attacks are unjustified and on a successful UK industry. By my estimate up to half a million UK jobs rely on the plastics industry (jobs we will desperately need in the coming months). Who will invest in the UK industry with all this negativity?

Nicole Walton

And nowhere did they suggest that the consumers had a choice: they could shop at a street market for loose fruit; they could make their own sandwiches. But, of course, everyone wants the convenience of a supermarket. And no mention of doorstep milk deliveries.

Tarquin Crouch

The BBC considers itself judge, jury and executioner on various matters and regularly rolls out people that haven't a clue what they're talking about. If food waste were a country its emissions would be greater than all but China and the USA. Anything that can be done to reduce food waste e.g. Shelf life extension, therefore saves emissions. There is no paper with an oxygen barrier. It is not a solution. Also with the embedded energy in plastics far lower than other types of packaging there really is only one answer. Where is the debate about litter louts and fly tippers being more harshly treated. That's the real crime. If you fly tip or throw rubbish out your car, the police ought to have the power to crush your car. That would soon stop people littering our verges and green spaces.

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