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Macron Goes For Green

Macron goes for Green

Plastics are being politicised like never before, the Politicians, the Media, and the BBC are unanimous in their condemnation of the materials and now we have Mr Macron putting plastics at the heart of his re-election campaign.

Letter to The Times

Subject: An Inconvenient Truth

Dear Editor

Friday’s editorial piece (Packaging Deal) supporting the French ban on plastic packaging for most of it’s fruit and vegetables failed to inform your readers that Food Waste is the World’s third highest generator of greenhouse gas emissions, exceeded only by China and the USA.  Or, that across Europe around 88 million tonnes per year of food is wasted, at a cost of some €145 billion, whilst in the UK we waste about 11 million tonnes of food every year.

Plastic packaging is the perfect solution to reducing Food Waste, particularly perishable food such as fruit and vegetables.  The European Institute for Energy and Environmental Research Report (no less) in 2019 concluded that substituting plastics for rigids for FMCG packaging across Europe would reduce Europe’s carbon footprint from packaging by some 35%, even if NONE of the plastic was recycled, with a significant reduction in food waste.

Currently the UK recycles some 58% of all its plastic packaging, while much of the remainder is incinerated to produce energy from waste.  Very little UK plastic now goes to landfill, or indeed, as is claimed in your article, ‘Ends up in the Ocean’.

According to the “Life Cycle Analysis” report produced by an Imperial College London in 2020, plastics worldwide, account for just 3.8% of Greenhouse Gas emissions, yet only 2% of the public consider plastic an efficient use of the Earth’s resources.

It is misguided editorials such as the one you produced on Friday that explain why the public is kept in ignorance of the benefits of using plastics.

Barry Twigg

The above letter was sent to The Times in response to their editorial last Friday, praising the French ban on the use of plastic packaging for much of their fruit and vegetables. The editorial headline claimed that the French were right to phase out the plastic packaging, without any acknowledgment of the scale of the potential consequences in increasing carbon emissions and food waste.

However, in support of their arguments for banning plastics, the writer also made reference to the ‘centuries’ plastics take to break down in landfill, (they don’t), and how the remaining fragments of plastic ‘continue to pollute the environment’ (they don’t).  

Warming to his / her theme, this ‘editorial expert’ tells their readers that 300 million tonnes of plastic waste is produced per year, (not true), equivalent to the weight of all the human population (that’s a new one!).

The writer does mention in passing that ‘banning plastic will lead to a rise in food waste’, however, this fact doesn’t really concern a well fed journalist, who is apparently totally ignorant of the millions of tonnes of methane released into the atmosphere by rotting food. The writer also fails to appreciate that, according to World Hunger Facts, 2.37 billion of the world’s population did not have access to enough safe and nutritious food in 2020. So, presumably, increasing the food going to waste in France doesn’t matter!

However, a passing reference was made to the efforts of the supermarkets to reduce their carbon footprint and Morrisons, Tesco, and Sainsburys all get honourable mentions. In addition, the closing paragraphs praise the success of the plastic bag tax, (which is questionable to say the least). It also praises the Governments planned imposition of the UK Plastic Tax. As this tax will undoubtedly lead to higher costs for everyone, allied to a potential switch to alternative materials, all which will undoubtedly have a higher carbon footprint than plastics and thus, add to global warming. So, perhaps the praise of the supermarkets is a little premature.

This editorial displayed ignorance of the subject matter at best and was lazy journalism at its worst. It simply reiterated anti-plastic dogma and reinforced the general citizens anti-plastic ignorance. The writer had obviously made no effort to research the consequences of the French ban, other than a passing mention of creating ‘more food waste’.

A far more likely motivation for this legislation is that Mr Macron desperately wants re-election and this ban is his best efforts at winning over those voters who gave the Green Party a major boost in the French 2020 local elections. Politicising plastic is an easy win for all governments and politicians and Mr Macron is simply following the UK’s governments lead with its planned Plastic Tax.  

The Times Letters

With regard to contributions to The Times letters page, I have written to the editor on numerous occasions, usually in response to their anti-plastic bias, but, as with the BBC, this is a complete waste of time. Neither organization ever prints (or shows) any information which highlights the benefits of using plastics or mentions that they are the least environmentally damaging packaging material for food and many other products. Both organisations simply pursue their populist anti-plastic agendas.

They much prefer to leave their readers (viewers) in ignorance by consistently promoting their anti-plastic agendas.

Meanwhile, I would welcome your views and why not join me on LinkedIn for more regular updates.





1 Comment

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ute Cooper

I agree with yur comments. However, in order to fight back I feel it is necessary for companies producing plastic and paper based materials to work more closely together developing food packaging materials with a biodegradable plastic content. This would enable the supermarkets to make a splash about British ingenuity (even it it does exist elsewhere) and persuade a proud public. about benefits.

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