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Opinion : Is it time to ban plastic packaging?

| January 2, 2018

Once upon a time we would put all our rubbish into one dustbin and the dustmen would visit every week to take all the waste away to landfill.

Then some bright spark came up with the idea that we could recycle our waste into separate bins to be more environmentally friendly.

A simple weekly waste collection scheme using one bin and one dustcart then turned into a highly complicated recycling scheme with multiple dustcarts and a plethora of bins.

The truth of the matter is that the same amount of waste was still being generated. The disposal method was changed but nobody tackled the root of the problem, namely the amount of unnecessary packaging that ends up having to be disposed of.

It seems not all the waste generated in the UK has found its final resting place in the UK. Yours truly was shocked to discover recently that for many years up to 500,000 tonnes of plastic waste has been sent to China for recycling every year.

Now the Chinese have banned the import of plastic and it transpires the UK faces a build up of plastic waste.

If only the powers that be and the environmentalists had tackled the underlying use of so much plastic in food and other product wrapping.

From what my good self can see the recycling schemes have merely been a sticking plaster on a much bigger problem. The refuse contractors may have made hefty profits sending multiple dust carts around the streets but ultimately the waste should not have existed in the first place.

Years ago, in my younger day, we used to take our own containers to the shops for the shopkeeper to fill with milk, butter, vegetables or whatever we wanted. The glass containers could be reused time and time again.

Drinks, like lemonade, would be supplied in containers with a ‘deposit’ paid on them which would be reclaimed by taking the empty bottle back to be reused again.

Then plastic came into society. Plastic bags for frozen vegetables, plastic cartons for milk and plastic wrappers for butter. The pre-packaging of goods in single use plastic has created a waste nightmare.

Perhaps the Chinese cutting off the disposal route will make the powers that be do what they should have done years ago and impose a ban on plastic packaging at source?

Surely it’s time glass containers came back into general use? After all glass can be recycled here in the UK over and over again….

What do you think?

My blogs are published every Tuesday and Friday evening around 8.00pm here on the WycombeToday.com website.

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