Can we stop using single use plastics?

I failed my new year’s resolution! Yes, I failed to stop using single use plastic! How long did my resolution last? … A month? A week? A day? … Not even that!

It lasted a few hours at best! I opened a plastic-covered dishwasher tablet after our New Year’s Day meal! My dilemma – wash by hand or use the tablet, run the dishwasher and break my resolution!

Why can we not live without single use plastic? How can we stop using single use plastic?

When will we wake up to the fact that single use plastic is not always needed, we overuse it and its detrimental to us and our environment?

Three words to describe plastic:

The positives - versatile, cheap, durable – all great words to use when talking about plastic.

The negatives - waste, non-degradable, problematic – all this plastic water keeps growing in quantity and we do not have a clear solution.

I live in Wales and I congratulate the devolved Welsh Government for being the first to introduce and pass a bill in December 2022. The Bill goes beyond banning an initial set of single-use plastic products. It provides a firm foundation to ban further problematic single-use plastic products in the future.

How well will it be enforced?

The effects of the bill will take time to see, especially as we can buy everything online. We can order plastic spoons, plastic forks, plates and straws from a famous online retailer, and it will arrive.

Food outlets in Wales will have to comply which at least is a small step forward. But thinking to the summer, the sun, the long days, and the fantastic music festivals that will no longer have fields littered with plastic plates, spoons, straws or glasses. The clear up operation will be simple. The rubbish will be recyclable. The contents biodegradable. Really….?

The reality will be that all food outlets must provide food on recyclable material. Once the food is consumed the festival goer puts it in a recycling bin. The recyclable material is now contaminated by food, oils and greases making it impossible and unfit to be recycled!

So where does this leave us? Food for thought…and comment!

Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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Ceris Van de Vyver

Director of Scientific Sciences

Ceris is a Chartered Scientist and Chartered Environmentalist with extensive experience leading diverse teams of professionals to deliver scientific services and improvements in quality, water and the environment, within complex utility service. In her own words, she has 'a passion for all things water related!'. As Director of Scientific Services, Ceris is responsible for the leadership and management of scientific services strategy in WRc with responsibility for the National Centre for Environmental Toxicology (NCET).

2023-02-21 14:52:00