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(14 Posts)
RubySparks Thu 31-Mar-16 11:17:23

Whales' stomachs found to be full of plastic debris

why do we still make and use plastic? I see reports of all kinds of plastic found all over the world, how have we allowed this to happen? On my daily dog walk (rural) I regularly pick up a full bag of plastic bottles, cans, packaging. It seems like a huge tide of waste that we need to stop producing rather than recycle. Anyone know of a way to get this issue highlighted and prioritised by governments? I'm in Scotland and I'm aware of the APRS (Association for Protection of Rural Scotland) campaign 'Have you got the bottle' which wants to introduce deposit schemes and reverse vending machines but not sure how to get involved other than donating money. Even that campaign doesn't go far enough - are their groups pushing for a ban on plastic production?

claig Thu 31-Mar-16 11:41:07

Yes, it is a big problem but I don't think there will ever be a ban on plastic as it is too useful for modern living. We have to try and find a better way of disposing of it. I saw something on TV once where a teenager had invented some excellent way of sweeping up plastic in the ocean. We need to try and find more ways of cleaning the environment up like that.

Plastic chemicals can sometimes even appear in our food.

"Plastic chemical found in nearly 500 foods sold in US"

cdtaylornats Thu 31-Mar-16 13:19:52

What could you use instead? If you look at the things replaces by plastics then its wood or ivory and I don't think we want to go back to those.

The report above is just saying one chemical is used for two purposes, the headline could equally have been "dough improver found in all mobile phone cases" but that's not as shock horror.

How about "cooking ingredient found in human blood before death" that's because CO2 is taken around the bloodstream as bicarbonate.

RubySparks Thu 31-Mar-16 13:36:21

I agree it is very useful but we did manage without it and we will probably have to find new materials when the oil runs out. I heard about the teenager that invented something to eat the plastic but I think it is at a very early stage with the amount it can do compared to the mountains of plastic we have.

RubySparks Thu 31-Mar-16 15:15:32

So I have been looking into life with plastic and found this blog with loads of suggestions!

I will try out some of these as I'm horrified at the amount of packaging we put out for recycling, I would rather not have it in the first place.

RubySparks Thu 31-Mar-16 15:19:22

Also these top 10 tips for living without plastic

It's an American site which sells reusable products made from stainless steel and glass, I'm sure there will be UK versions too.

HazyMazy Fri 01-Apr-16 14:26:40

I hate all the plastic packaging. Everything is in loads of polythene, every lettuce, and M&S has everything in plastic boxes, sausage rolls, yoghurts, milk, are all in plastic.
We will drown in the stuff. But it is quicker to use plastic, we want to grab a few things and take them home, not mess around with particular containers or glass bottles or bags or baskets.
Laziness really.

RubySparks Fri 08-Apr-16 23:09:41

I discovered there is an Ethical Living topic so moved over there to try plastic free living. It is partly laziness and convenience however if you try to do without plastic it soon becomes apparent that we are not being given a choice! You have to put a lot of effort into finding alternatives to plastic and spend more time shopping and cooking.

Bookaboo Sun 17-Apr-16 00:29:02

I think giving up plastic in a domestic setting is probably the easiest of all the places it could be done. Look at the amount of plastic products used in healthcare, for instance.
There are some plastic replacements. Plastic can be made from plant fibres, and I did see quite a bit of this sort of packaging that could be composted, but it seems to have disappeared. I've also seen plastic bottles made from plants. I think the problem is that it doesn't have quite the same properties as oil based plastic, but hopefully they're working on that.
I think plastic is ok if it's only used when necessary and then recycled.
I think return of deposit schemes as you mention OP might encourage those lazy arses to be a bit less careless.

unlucky83 Sun 17-Apr-16 01:11:26

It is a dilemma sometimes. I stood in the supermarket the other day deciding whether get cow/farmer friendly milk (cravendale) in a 4pt container or not cow friendly but plastic friendly 6pts...
I do get my meat from the butcher to avoid packaging but it gets wrapped in plastic sheet and they always try and give me a carrier bag...
And I try and take bottles of water with us but DC1 buys a drink in a plastic bottle more or less everyday
I refuse plastic lids on drinks etc if I can't avoid getting a drink in a disposable cup and avoid magazines for DC that come with plastic tat. if I go to MacDonald s etc (rare) I say no toy
I buy big pots of yoghurt usually yeo valley with the paper wrapper so thin plastic and in theory I make my own natural yogurt (but have a fondness for yeo valley and mine isn't as nice.)
I don't buy fizzy juice -coke etc. Always take my shopping bags, buy in bulk (ecover 5l and refill bottles), i use few cleaning products - no sprays (or wipes), washing powder not liquid, use eg loo roll packaging as bin liners , empty bins lose into wheelie bin so reuse liners...
Personally I use a shampoo bar and bar soap not shower gel or liquid hand soap
And still my plastic recycling wheelie bin collected monthly is full to over flowing sad
From reading another thread I've just ordered metal reusable straws as DP has them for his dodgy teeth and therefore DC's us them... And I do put them in recycling because reusing never worked well. Hopefully with special straws it will.

caroldecker Sun 17-Apr-16 01:29:53

So replace plastic drink bottles with reusable glass? But they are heavier, so more fuel to transport to supermarket, more to home, more back to the supermarket, more to the cleaning centre, more to clean, more to the factory to re-fill?
Which has the lowest oil use?

ProfessorPreciseaBug Sun 17-Apr-16 07:05:45

We all wear plastic... Nylon, viscose, lycra polyester and whatever fleece (made from recycled bottles) is made of...

There is not enough wool, cotton and silk in the world to clothe the population.
Substituting wood for plastic will result in the instant removal of the entire world supply of wood within a generation..

And we mustn't forget paint.. Acrylic and polyester paints actually do a better job than terpentine based ones...

The only real solution is a massive cull of the human population. Obviously that will not be popular and is unlikely to be supported... except when the oil runs out it will happen because we need oil to support our excessive population. I am glad I will be pushing up dasies before the "natural readjustment" begins in earnest as it is going to make the hollacaust look like a tea party.

unlucky83 Sun 17-Apr-16 12:01:44

I think carol you can go less extreme - just do what you can when you remember. It is the 3 Rs - and I think people think if they recycle that's good enough...
Reduce - try and use less plastic where you can
Do you need to buy a bottle of water when out shopping or can you wait until you get home or take a pre-filled bottle of tap water with you? (and tap water in general is better regulated than bottled water) Or if you buy say coke - get a big bottle and decant into a smaller bottle. (There is less plastic in a 2 L bottle than 4x 500ml bottles -and I bet it works out cheaper too...). Do you really need plastic bottles of hand wash (I said I use bar soap) but you could you get a big bottle (or a bag) and decant into smaller ones if you really think you want liquid.
Which comes onto Reuse - if you did have to buy a bottle of drink you can save and reuse the bottle - you don't have to buy a special bottle. It might easily last for 10s of refills. That's many plastic bottles saved at no environmental impact.
(I've used the same 1lt washing up liquid bottle for years ...must have refilled it 30x takes me a few minutes, not a hassle. So I've used 6 x 5L tubs (or bags in boxes recently) instead of 30 1L bottles with lids etc. I don't get it from the supermarket but I would have to cart a 1lt bottle home 30x too)
And then Recycle. Which is better than landfill - but only just...
Professor I don't think we need such doom and gloom.
Humans adapt their environment - we have been living beyond our 'carrying capacity' for hundreds of years and we are learning...slowly. Oil will become scarcer and more expensive and we will adapt -it isn't going to run out one morning out of the blue. I think we are likely to survive for many thousands of years yet - but of course at some point the Sun is going to die yes as we are on Earth we are doomed in the long run....

caroldecker Sun 17-Apr-16 12:52:50

As the Saudi finance minister once said, the Stone Age did not end because we ran out of stone.

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