‘Innovative idea’ to turn the tide of plastic waste

 In Education, News

A project launched this week, as tens of thousands of volunteers recorded their throwaway packaging to give an accurate picture of the plastic waste crisis in the UK, is an innovative idea.

“This will hopefully demonstrate to the government and the supermarkets that much more needs to be done to tackle how we deal with this environmentally damaging material,” said Midlands green energy expert Ron Fox.

“Millions of householders play their part in recycling, but they don’t really know where their plastic waste ends up.”

Organised by the Everyday Plastic charity and Greenpeace, it will show the different types of plastic packaging people throw away each day and what happens to them.

More than 150,000 people, including the environmentalist Chris Packham, the Harry Potter actress Bonnie Wright and 96 MPs and 4,180 school classrooms, are participating in the Big Plastic Count, which began on Monday (May 16) and ends on Sunday (May 22).

Participants in the Big Plastic Count receive a pack explaining how to count the plastics they use, broken down into 19 categories. They then tally up each type of plastic waste before putting it in the bin or the recycling container. 

Ron, of Noreus Ltd Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science, said only the USA uses more plastic than the UK per person and this waste creates many major environmental problems with microplastics being found in all the world’s oceans and even in the Arctic snow.

Firstly, he said, huge amounts of energy and fossil fuels are needed to make new plastic, and secondly some plastic put in recycling bins end up in incinerators or in landfill where it takes hundreds of years to break down in the ground.

“But many people are not aware that is only possible to recycle plastic two or three times before it becomes too degraded,” said Ron, “and that thousands of tons of waste are even exported and dumped abroad.”

The data will be analysed by Everyday Plastic and Greenpeace to produce a national picture of how households consume the environmentally damaging material. 

The campaigners are hoping to push the government to reduce single-use plastic by 2025, ban all plastic exports and implement a deposit scheme for recycling and reuse.

The British Retail Consortium said many retailers have been committed to removing single-use packaging for some time and many have signed up to the Plastics Pact, working with suppliers to eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging. 

The government, which says households recycled 44 per cent of their waste in 2020, is considering plans to introduce a deposit return scheme among plans to reduce plastic waste.

“Hopefully, the results of this survey will lead to more being done to turn this tide of plastic waste in the UK and abroad,” said Ron.

For more details about recycling and green energy call Ron on 01782 756 995.

Caption: Counting up the plastic – a project was launched this week to show the different types of packaging people throw away each day.

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Environment expert Ron Fox (right) puts the green message over to the Secretary of State for Education, Nadhim Zahawi, MP, before the regional Cabinet meeting at Middleport Pottery in Stoke-on-Trent.Anthony Albanese Australian Prime Minister