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Grantham Journal letter: It is consumers who must stop plastic production


Many readers will share William Ockleshaw’s proverbial concerns about the adverse effects which plastic can have upon the environment (Journal letters, February 10).

Sadly, William’s suggested action would neither penalise the true perpetrators of the problem, nor solve the problem itself.

Manufacturers of plastic products will only produce what their customers want to buy. This can include moulded articles or thin films and can be very stable or biodegradable. However, several environmental groups, including Friends of the Earth, oppose biodegradability, much preferring recycling.

Official environmental studies done in Europe over 20 years ago demonstrated, surprisingly, that manufacturing paper bags produces more than twice as much atmospheric pollution, 200 times as much waste water and uses more than twice as much energy as making plastic bags.

Most of the plastic litter which pollutes our oceans and defaces our beaches comes from ships and rigs, just as most of the used plastic which goes into landfill comes from litter-louts and uncaring individuals who are too lazy to sort stuff for proper recycling.

Although manufacturers clearly identify the type of plastic they make, they have no control over what happens after its use; that is entirely down to consumers and their waste collection authorities – which brings to mind another well-known proverb: waste not, want not.

Brian Bruce, Colsterworth


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