As we leave the season of excesses and enter the season of sales it would be wise to take a peak into our wheelie bins, yes those overflowing bins that have become home to the waste packaging and wrapping that our food and presents came in. Until today much of that plastic would have found its way to China to be recycled.
China’s ban on imported plastic waste come into force today ending the half a million tons of plastic that we have sent them each year and forcing the UK to figure out what it will do with the waste instead. The Local Government Associate seems to think the waste will simply need to be incinerated in the UK but this just means that we continue to use plastic and emit more greenhouse gases to accelerate climate change.
David Attenborough’s recent Blue Planet 2 highlighted the extreme amount of plastic that has been dumped in our oceans and the effect it is having on the non-human animals that live there.
We have to drastically reduce our use of plastic but this is extremely hard to do. Our food is often double wrapped in plastic is it is processed, the supermarkets have no incentive to reduce this currently. Take a four pack of baked beans: we are encouraged to buy them in a four pack as the price is lower than 4 individual tins yet they are bound together by unnecessary plastic and this is the type that can’t be recycled at all (well done Heinz for a gimmick designed to maximise your profits at the expense of the environment).
Tackling this will require central government intervention. For the sake of our seas, our air and our Earth let us pray that they take the radical action needed.