Britain to ban Disposable Plastic – Cotton Buds, Drink Stirrers, Drinking Straws…

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The UK Government has announced a ban on cotton buds, drink stirrers and plastic drinking straws to combat the “scourge” of plastic pollution.

Cotton buds and plastic straws could be banned in England next year

Consultation to start later this year as Theresa May continues drive against single-use plastic waste

Cotton buds, plastic drinking straws and other single-use plastics could be banned from sale in England next year in the next phase of the campaign to try to halt the pollution of the world’s rivers and oceans.

Theresa May hopes to use the announcement to encourage the Commonwealth heads of government to join the fight as the meeting opens formally on Thursday. “The Commonwealth is a unique organisation with a huge diversity of wildlife, and environments – so it is vital we act now,” the prime minister will say, urging all Commonwealth countries to participate.

Cotton buds, often flushed down the lavatory, are one of the most serious sources of marine pollution. They are small enough to be eaten by birds and marine life.

Altogether it is estimated that there are 150m tonnes of plastic in the world’s oceans, and over 100,000 sea mammals die from eating or getting tangled up in plastic waste.

Plastic microbeads have already been banned, and the introduction of the 5p plastic bag charge in England has led to a dramatic fall in their use: 9bn fewer bags have been distributed, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) figures show.

Michael Gove, the Defra secretary, called single-use plastics a scourge. “It is only through government, business and the public working together and the public working together that we will protect our environment for the next generation,” he said.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/18/single-use-plastics-could-be-banned-in-england-next-year

Climate Depot suggested in 2010 that greens were desperately market testing new scare campaigns to replace the faltering climate crisis. This pointless ban suggests the fake plastic crisis is getting traction in green Britain.

Update (EW): Cotton Buds (UK) = Q-tips (USA)

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247 thoughts on “Britain to ban Disposable Plastic – Cotton Buds, Drink Stirrers, Drinking Straws…

    • Don’t these morons know that disabled people like quadriplegics rely on plastic straws in order to drink hot beverages? Wax covered cardboard doesn’t work and melts into the beverage!! Using a plastic tube repeatedly is an infection risk and means more work for carers. Buds are vital for cleaning nostrils and applying creams to certain areas. Hopefully some countries will still make them and we’ll be able to smuggle them in!!

      • This sounds like more liberal “look a squirrel”……if there’s anything libs are good at…it’s defection
        …..don’t look at the acid attacks, knifings, and murders…..no go zones….etc

      • Yes Chris there might be an exception for medical use, but price is based on volume production, so the cost for the tiny market that remains will skyrocket and availability will be spotty and at a high price. Then it will fall into medical devices instead of common goods, and the price will go up 10,000% immediately.

      • Donald, no, they’ll just allow hospitals or clinics to buy from existing plastic straw providers. I highly doubt that UK buys their plastic straws from UK mfrs – they are most likely made in China. So no cost impact. 95% of the problem goes away when restaurants and fast food places stop offering straws. Folks with a medical issue can get them from a local clinic.

      • Aren’t “cotton buds” made from cotton ?? Duh.

        All they need to do is go back to using a roll of waxed paper or wood instead of the plastic tube. There would be less cases of people loosing the bud in their ears without noticing ( yes really, look it up ).

        I can remember in the 80s when plastic bags were greatest thing and we were all told not to use paper bags any more in order to “save the trees”. Now plastic is out and we are being forced to go back to paper bags.

        Is there just one idea that the enviros actually thought through before demanding legislation to enforce it on the rest of the world?

      • We no longer have the right to throw away bags so the supermarkets give us stronger “reusable” ones which seem to contain between 5 and 10 times more plastic.

        Very few of these will actually see 5 and 10 trips ; another genius idea that does the opposite of what was intended.

      • Greg, Doh! Wish we’d thought of that before banning cotton buds completely!

        Seriously, of course cotton buds are not being banned – just the plastic components, which I must admit I didn’t know existed, since when my kids were young and we used a few buds, they had rolled paper ‘rods’

      • Steve Ta, so we should celebrate going back to an inferior product that was abandoned for a reason?

      • Exactly. A good deal of proper research has shown that the total environmental consequences of the ban are actually negative – sales of bin liners have increased to make up for the loss of bags and those liners take more resources to make and decompose more slowly. The same with the cotton or jute replacements, where cotton is responsible for one of the worst environmental catastrophes of our time, the Aral Sea.

      • I guess you could always use the plastic garbage bags as grocery bags.
        I like the ironic fact that you can’t recycle plastic bags

        And you can’t throw them away either

      • People here used the bags to collect animal waste while walking the parks and neighborhoods. The city then banned plastic bags. The response from the public was immediate, and now the city provides, courtesy of the taxpayers, plastic bags on newly installed plastic bag dispensers throughout the park and walking trails. I guess to walk the pet down a residential sidewalk, a stop to the park first to collect a few bags is now in order.

    • Our local greenies lobbied hard to ban plastic grocery bags and replace them with paper bags, but when they realized that it meant the resurrection of the logging industry they dropped the idea like a hot potato. Lol!

      However it’s always been a mystery to me why coffee cups are made of paper but the lids are made of plastic. Why are coffee lids still made of plastic?

      • Simple … Nothing functions better for the task of creating a watertight seal to prevent leaking of the hot liquid during drinking while simultaneously keeping the liquid hot.

    • “Cotton buds and plastic straws could be banned in England next year
      Consultation to start later this year as Theresa May continues drive against single-use plastic waste”

      Oh no, a lot of these things will have to be replaced by wood. Can’t the Brits see the wood through the plastic?

      There go the offsets again;)

      Cheers

      Roger

      http://www.thedemiseofchristchurch.com

      • A lot of these things will have to be replaced by wood.
        Like Drax replaced coal with American forests.

      • There go the elitists again, trying to force their group-think religion on everyone once more. And I don’t remember electing this PM of the UK to tell Australians, who were once part of the ancient defunct British Commonwealth, what to do with drinking straws.

        The label “Royal” this and Royal that, on Australian buildings and our navy, and on Parliamentry builfings, and “Royal Ascent” to laws, is an abomination from a prior century. Something that is well past time to be eliminated and forgotten.

        As for the ‘War on Cotton-Buds’, I just can not believe the feeble-minded stupidity of these people. Have they no sense of how rediculous they are? Their Front Bench must have a pot muffin before discussing the next ludicrous state policy brain-fart they have.

        I wan’t nothing to do with them.

      • WX
        Thanks, all noted.
        I rather though having allies [friends] helps.
        But, as a bum boatie, I guess I am Naive. Probably seriously so, even terminally.

        Not sue what harm the ‘R’ word does.
        I guess, for some, having a polly as Head of State would be good.
        If the polly is your brand.
        If . . . . .

        Nothing is perfect, but I am happy to be a (loyal) subject of Her Britannic Majesty, Queen Elizabeth.

        Auto – aware of some of the alternatives – and (politely) not at all enamoured of any I have thought of.
        [My imagination is lacking, therefore, I suppose].

        Could the UK be governed differently {and better]?
        There will be other ideas, but – as an individual – I suggest that the second chamber becomes a House of Elders . . . .

      • WX…I can’t think of anything much worse than a republic with the likes of Turnbull as president! No system is perfect but that would be a nightmare.

    • Presumably, “cotton buds” are also known as Q-tips.

      “Cotton buds, often flushed down the lavatory, are one of the most serious sources of marine pollution. They are small enough to be eaten by birds and marine life.”

      So, the big question is why their sewage treatment does not filter out Q-tips. Filtering out solids should be the first step in sewage treatment. Or, are they indicating that they do not do sewage treatment, yet? Wow.

      What they are telegraphing here is that their sewage treatment and gar bade handling is sub-standard. How else would so much plastic make it to the ocean.

      Or, what they say is propaganda with made up statistics to panic the public to make them accept more control and more restrictions on their lives. That’s the more likely.

      • Spot on, Higley7! I agree that it extremely unlikely that things like cotton buds would be discharged into the sea by any sewage treatment plan in the first world. Like those awful ‘wet wipes’, irresponsible people flushing cotton buds down the toilet rather than simply putting them in the rubbish bin is the cause of the problem. There are countless plastic products that are single use or that have packaging that could end up in rivers or seas, is the government going to ban them all? Think about every pack of cream, yoghurt etc. Here in Oz they come in a plastic container with a clear plastic lid, over an aluminum foil seal. Millions of these are sold here every week, but nobody is calling for them to be banned.

      • My plastic extrusions buddy tells me that of these plastic microgranules that you find today in every living creature including yourself, one hundred per cent come from plastic recycling. A high-speed mincing machine reduces the plastic to a fine powder. Stop recycling and no more microgranules. That’s what landfills were invented for.

    • Don’t worry, the lawyers will handle that one. For example, the helpful advice on the Q-Tip container says Do Not Insert Into Ear Canal. I can only imagine what they will do with the QLav,

  1. Shaking my head… Well, at least the Brits won’t have to lug the tar and feathers all the way to the middle of the Continent when and if they finally get completely fed up. Brexit accomplished that much, anyway – if little else.

      • If the House of Lords (and all the other vested interests) have their way, there won’t be much of it left by then…

      • If the House of Lords (and all the other vested interests) have their way, there won’t be much of it left by then…

        They don’t have the power to stop it.

        If you are interested in “Brexit” then head over to http://www.eureferendum.com

        (For a daily updated view)

  2. I’m not at all convinced that plastic as a floating substrate actually is a polutant. Diatoms and barnacles need something to adhere to in order to remain suspended in the epipelagic zone.
    By providing floats we might be encouraging food production in the open ocean.

    • I suspect this proposed ban may have more to do with the green blob’s (including the UN) aim to end fossil fuel use – which will in turn cause a shortage of raw materials for plastic.

      I also wonder if the co-ordinated scares about ‘plastic’ in press releases to MSM , tv programmes and documentaries by the likes of Sir David Attenborough are to add the demonisation of plastic, and hence its prime source fossil fuels, to the ‘environmental’ campaign that we are destroying the earth. Attenborough never misses any opportunity to promote global warming / climate change – no matter how remote or tenuous a connection might be.

      As the hyped warming, hyped extreme weather, hyped extinctions have failed to happen there is an ever-growing realisation in the public that they are being duped about this – maybe the plastics scare was pushed forwards to bolster the flagging AGW / CC campaign.

      It is all very reminiscent of ‘A Silent Spring’, and given the way that ‘climate scientists’ have operated I wonder how much (if any) real reliance can be placed on ‘scientific’ papers about plastics in the environment.

      • Old England

        “As the hyped warming, hyped extreme weather, hyped extinctions have failed to happen there is an ever-growing realisation in the public that they are being duped about this – maybe the plastics scare was pushed forwards to bolster the flagging AGW / CC campaign.”

        D’ya think they’re clutching at straws?

        Had to be said :)

      • I wonder how much (if any) real reliance can be placed on ‘scientific’ papers about plastics in the environment.

        Absolutely not. Most published research findings are wrong. link

        The greater the financial and other interests and prejudices, the less likely the findings are to be true.

        Where researchers want to find a certain result, that is the result they will find.

        As the editor of The Lancet put it:

        Science has taken a turn towards darkness

      • Guys…..I agree with you 100%. The rIdiculous BBC has mounted a non-stop ludicrous campaign against plastics. Practically every day there’s an article or two from them about the evils of plastics and, yes, David Attenborough‘s Blue Planet 2 is trotted out time & time again to underline the impending disaster. They have even used stupid names like Planet Plastic (as well as the Anthropocene meme) to hype this latest environmental “catastrophe”! And, yes, the underlying message is that plastics are made from nasty old oil & gas so the quicker we adapt to life without horrible hydrocarbons, the better.

        They keep banging on about the fact that plastics don’t break down and end up in the food chain and that a total of 8 BILLION TONS of plastic have been manufactured since they were first invented so the planet will soon be overwhelmed. I pointed out online that the entire 8 billion tons of plastic EVER MADE would fit in a box only 2 x 2 x 2 km ie 8 cubic kilometres (average SG of plastic is ~1).

        Plastic is a litter problem – not an environmental problem. Also, for the most part, it’s a great fuel and could be burned in power stations since it is essentially solidified hydrocarbons. Obviously, we need to separate PVC (since it can produce dioxins unless burned at high enough temperature) but the main plastics HDPE LDPE, PET, polypropylene & polycarbonate are all perfectly combustible. Recycling and ending up with inferior performance isn’t necessarily the smartest thing to do with plastics. And banning these amazingly useful materials is just plain stupid!!!

      • Plastic does break down. UV destroys it rapidly. There are also bacteria and other little critters that have evolved to eat it.

      • Plastic does break down. UV destroys it rapidly…..

        Does it ever….made the mistake of putting the wrong plastic on the greenhouse….it didn’t even last a year

      • I suspect this proposed ban may have more to do with the green blob’s (including the UN) aim to end fossil fuel use – which will in turn cause a shortage of raw materials for plastic.

        you may be right.
        wonder if they realize autos and ( their favorite) trains need oil for the composite and carbon fiber they use. lot of trainsets now using it on axles for tilting control on high speed trains.

    • “Plastic does break down. UV destroys it rapidly. There are also bacteria and other little critters that have evolved to eat it.”

      Wrong. It breaks down into microplastics which stay in the ocean for decades.

    • Yeah, in world dominated by things manufactured with plastic, what could ever go wrong with bacteria that eat plastic?

      • I don’t have a clue what happened with my post — I just see a bunch of white space where I had posted a link to the Amazon site for the book: Mutant 59: The Plastic Eaters by Kit Peddler and Gerry Davis. Apologies if I messed something up with the link!

      • Ever since I heard of a startup that claimed to be about to release a bio-engineered bug that would produce alcohol from cellulose I worry for the rain forests, also my lawn. What could possibly go wrong?

      • Roger that, Phil.

        Look at the naturally bred organisms in the Gulf of Mexico. More seepage each year that the BP rig that had the problem.

        Where does all that crude go? Maybe Dave mid can comment.

        Added, biggest impact of the BP fiasco was loss of tourism $$$$$, not wildlife.

        Gums sends…

      • @ Pat McAdoo – A lot of the gunk from seepages wind up on the sandy beaches around the gulf. This is a most serious problem at Galveston, TX, where most of it has to be collected and hauled away to keep the tourists coming. Some of it winds up on the kids playing along the beach and it is not readily removed.

      • I agree Ernest.

        Here in the Panhandle we lost many tourist $$$ but little to no fish or fowl or turtles or mammals. So most of our loss was from folks canceling vacations and such. And then the lawsuits came and waiters at eateries were getting $10,000 checks for lost work and so forth. In my home state the big loss was from the satellite industry around the drill folks. Lost a bit from seafood industry, but big $$$ were lost by the support folks.

        Those tar balls are tough, and ugly. However, the big ecological damage seems to come from the “dispersed” crude, and many studies since 2010 address this.

        That blowout was a tragedy, so no sympathy here about the cause. It’s just that many folks got $$$ that should not havre, and the lawyers got much more, just like the tobacco lawyers.

        Gums….

  3. The (British) governments typical response to being lobbied by the green tyranny: ban, ban, ban and tax more heavily.

    • Well at least they may be bringing back those old rolled paper straws I remember as a child. So, let me get this straight, no plastic in cotton buds and drink stirrers, to be replaced presumably by wood. Hmmm, sound like more competition for the wood that is needed for biomass for those UK thermal generation plants. Just wondering if anyone is even thinking about where that wood is going to come from. The U.S.??

      • They should just burn all that plastic and cotton buds. Throw them in the furnace with the wood pellets.

  4. same as it ever was.
    activism is always in search of…
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1978/11/05/saccharin-labeled-carcinogen/cb5fe7f8-850a-4097-9f87-fc3539a6813a/?utm_term=.5549e6203810
    A long-awaited study by the National Academy of Sciences yesterday warned that saccharin is clearly a potential cancer-causing agent when used by humans

    it’s a settled, scientific consensus!

    https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/the-truth-about-saccharin.aspx
    After a complete evaluation of the evidence in 1999 (PDF, 378kb), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded that saccharin could no longer be considered a possible carcinogen in people.

  5. Well, let’s hope that Her Majesty’s Government also band single-use plastic shopping bags. They can come to California to see how well that is working to reduce the scourge of global plastic pollution.

    • They haven’t banned them but introduced a small charge in all major stores.
      Some stores have a “bag for life” scheme, under which bags are replaced when they wear out and replaced free of charge. This has apparently all drastically reduced their profligate use.

      • The charge (5p) for a plastic bag is given to charity.

        Personally, I’m suspicious of most charities these days as they are invariably used by the UK government to promote different agendas.

        How I laughed when Oxfam backfired on them.

        My only donations are to the Lifeboats, and for my annual Poppy.

      • now everyone uses a “bag for life” as a bin bag instead, we were conned into swapping starch based plastics which break down in weeks for ones which will still be around in 100 years. There are still as many bags blowing around the countryside with the main difference being that bag-for-life handles are even better at killing wildlife, and the only ones claiming the scheme as a success are the ones responsible for forcing the change upon us in the first place.

    • Big problem with re-usable bags (which I use), is that how in a humid atmosphere do you carry frozen foods without them defrosting or soaking everything around with condensation? So, that’s what I use plastic bags for, and also, they are cheaper than the commercially sold bin-liners!

      • Additional to the above – in South Africa, there is a tax on the plastic bags, supposedly to pay for recycling. After about 10 years,, no such recycling plant has been built.

  6. OK, what’s with the cotton buds? Those are those q-tips we use to clean our ears even though the packaging clearly says not to use them to clean our ears? Or does cotton buds mean something else in Britain? I understand the virtue signaling behind banning plastic, but what’s with the paper sticks with a bit of fuzzy stuff on them?

    • They’re not paper any more; they’re plastic. Or at least they are in Europe.

      On that one suggestion I can side with the government. If you can possibly avoid using non-biodegrable material (or slow-biodegradable material) on single-use disposable items then I believe you should, for the obvious reasons.

      Which in this case should mean going back to paper since wood sticks are equally as dangerous as plastic ones in this context. If the government is happy with wood Q-tips then you will know that this has nothing to do with the sea creatures and everything to do with demonising fossil fuels.

      • the government which forced us to swap biodegradeable starch-based plastic carrier bags for nonbiodegradeable bags-for-life?

      • You forgot to add ‘that are perfect ‘bacteria/virus/mold breeding grounds’ to the ‘nonbiodegradable’ bags.

      • I bought the low end cheap ones once (I mean, how much difference can there be in a “Q-tip”, right?)

        Well the low end cheap ones are plastic & too stiff & the cotton doesn’t seem to stick to the plastic all that well (and they are in the back of the drawer probably to never be used).

        The Q-tip (brand name) are paper are much better.

    • I suspect that most buds are made with plastic sticks these days rather than paper.
      I remember when most were paper (which I presume will not be banned), so the manufacturers will just have to go back to those.

  7. I have two large dogs that I walk frequently in public spaces.
    The posted signs all unanimously declare I must “Dispose of dog waste”, so I do of course.

    I dutifully bag up 1/4 kg of poop, perfectly goodfertilizer, into a plastic bag where it willremain unchanged for a 100 years in the landfill, safely ensconced in a plastic wrapper.

    • joelobryan

      Just so the snowflakes don’t have actually do something in life, and watch where they’re walking.

    • No, in a public park dog excrement is not a perfectly good fertilizer. Its a danger to children at play and prevents safe and pleasant use of the park by the vast majority of people who go there for legitimate recreation not involving the walking of dogs.

      There is zero reason why dog owners should regard public spaces as dog toilets. Its totally anti social.

    • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotton_swab
      Cotton swabs (American English) or cotton buds (British English) consist of one or two small wad(s) of cotton wrapped around one or both end(s) of a short rod made of wood, rolled paper or plastic. They are commonly used in a variety of applications including first aid, cosmetics application, cleaning, and arts and crafts.

      It’s a Q-Tip.

      • The original sin here is twofold:-

        1) Some Brits flush cotton buds down the lavvy, rather than put them in a bin.
        2) In extreme rainfall, some raw sewage is being released directly into the sea
        https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/raw-sewage-uk-rivers-pollution-england-wales-wwf-wildlife-a8006246.html

        Hence cotton buds get into seawater. Unless I’m much mistaken both wood and polyolefins have densities less than seawater, so both types of cotton bud will float, and the problem will not be solved.

        Stopping (1) will go a long way to preventing cotton buds amongst the Cormorants.

      • @ MyNaturalDiary – raw sewage doesn’t just get released into the sea, the River Thames around Marlow, Cookham and Bourne End was heavily polluted by RS on numerous occasions between 1-3 years ago.

        Open water swimmers, like my wife, suffered badly and many were quite ill as a result.

        But I think this proposed ban has more to do with ending fossil fuel use which will in turn cause a shortage of raw materials for plastic.

      • Q-tips float. They’re not a poison. Since they float, small sea creatures will hitch a ride, eventually turning them into food sticks for fish.

        This is a cause in search of a problem.

      • Old England

        I’m sorry but I liken open water swimmers to pedestrians who walk/run on the road because “it’s their right”. Councils have spent £Bn’s over the generations on pavements (sidewalks to our American friends) to keep pedestrians safe.

        Similarly they have spent fortunes on providing swimming pools/lido’s etc. to keep swimmers safe from things like wiels disease, amongst many other naturally occurring, open water, natural hazards.

        Raw sewage in a river isn’t nice, but the Thames is one of the most populated estuaries/rivers in the world, it’s inevitable, as is unpleasant run off from farmland.

    • “Alright….What is a ‘cotton bud’?”

      It is a hair style seen in all Florida restaurants during the early bird dining hours.

    • I don’t know either, J Mac. But apparently, after consulting Greenpeace and the BBC, our government is going to ban them. It doesn’t really matter what they are, because they fully intend to ban everything they can think of anyway.

      In the meantime, it is probably a good moment to invest in companies making glass containers.

  8. I remember my grandmother had straws of colored glass with small spoons on the end. Don’t suppose that would fly today in today’s litigious society?

  9. We shouldn’t automatically knock this although it may be more about seeming than doing. The plastic waste we generate and which ends up in the ocean, streams, countryside, beaches etc. is a disgrace. Anything that helps people think about it is to the good. It is hard to put up an argument that the plastic rubbish is beneficial to the environment or to mankind.

  10. The article mentions how succesful the 5p charge is in reducing the consumption of supermarket bags. We used to, as I’m sure many others did, to line our waste bins with them after we’d removed the groceries. We now buy plastig bags specifiaclly for that purpose. So there is not a real reduction I would say?

      • My spelling is very good. It is wobbly spelling, and sometimes the letters get in the wrong order, but it is very good spelling.

        Pooh Bear

    • Ian

      I suspect you and I were in the majority in ‘re using plastic bags.

      Unfortunately we are in the grip of alt democracy in the UK these days, where every minority pressure group shapes the future for the majority.

  11. Of all the plastic that goes on my plastic recycling bin, approximately 0% is represented by cotton buds and plastic straws.

    The bulk of it is supermarket packaging. That comprises about 100 times more bulk than the plastic supermarkets bags it came in, did.

    Sigh. More pointless expensive virtue signalling.

    • Leo

      Try ordering a memory stick or something equally innocuous from Amazon. It’s likely to arrive in a box the size of your coffee table, filled with reams of brown paper or bubble wrap. I kid you not.

      But of course, cotton buds are a threat to humanity.

      No mention made of the industrial process required to make the damn memory stick either.

    • “The bulk of it is supermarket packaging. That comprises about 100 times more bulk than the plastic supermarkets bags it came in, did.”
      Exactly! Not only that, here in Canada, grocery stores offer unlimited numbers of plastic bags, in rollout dispensers, free of charge, to carry your fruits and vegetables! Then they charge you 5 cents for another plastic bag to carry all of this plastic to your car.
      Utter lunacy.

      • I was at the store the other day, Ron, buying some sort of loose product, so I put it in one of the bags from the roll dispensers. That was the only item I bought. So then I carried my one plastic bag to the counter, and the cashier asked me “Would you like a plastic bag to carry that in?” :)

  12. Single use plastic shopping bags here in the UK were effectively banned a year ago when shops started charging for their use. I would like t see the same for the smaller single use clear bags that we put our vegetables in or bakery items at the supermarket.

    Plastic stirrers and cotton buds have no other use and are often disposed of down the toilet or merely discarded.

    Which is not to say that plastic doesn’t have its use in the food chain. For example sandwiches arrive n good condition thanks to their plastic wrappers as do many vulnerable items of fruit.

    Trouble is that the alternatives are not always better. It takes one lorry to deliver as many plastic bags as are contained in 20 lorries carrying paper bags.

    The science is often poor too. The plastic drinking straw argument (bring back paper ones!) is based on some completely ridiculous piece of research which estimates that each Briton uses 675 straws each year. HMMM.

    An easy gain would be to get rid of this ludicrous fad for bottled water in plastic bottles often shipped in from hundreds of miles away.

    So in general I favour this ban but we don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water by getting rid of plastics that prevent food damage and waste

    tonyb

    • Yes, I do agree. The idea that its just fine to treat the oceans as receptacles for long lived garbage is ridiculous. As ridiculous as the idea someone above has, that dog excrement in parks is really good fertilizer!

      The issue with the UK ban is not that it is silly, its very sensible as a measure in itself, though its only a start, but it is one. But the problem is, the countries who are generating 95% of the plastic waste are no way adopting similar measures.

      • Michel

        Frankly, they can ban WTF they want as far as im concerned, as long as its based on democratic principles. In this case, and many others, it’s not.

        The plastic straw hysteria, along with the AGW hysteria, is the product of minority pressure groups. Governments are terrified of offending these overtly moral groups, often with unsavoury internal personal agendas (witness Oxfam), and shape government policy with these people at the fore.

        We now have the dreadful situation in the UK (and elsewhere) where many working people are having to make the unenviable choice between eating or heating. And with dramatically spiralling energy costs (I think they are approaching 20% over the last two years or so but stand to be corrected) that will only get worse.

        Yet the British government is f**king around, appeasing minority groups, by banning plastic straws whilst the poor, elderly and frail are having their lives and health threatened by listening to loony climate alarmist minority groups peddling the virtues of 14th Century windmills.

        And are you aware that a UK Council was so incensed with dog poo that it began sending samples off for expensive DNA analysis, and our parks are surrounded with cctv cameras, ostensibly to keep us all safe, but in reality to catch dogs crapping.

        Instead of telling people to watch where they’re walking, they waste tax payers money on a non problem.

        The UK no longer operates a democracy, it’s a minority group political playground and the majority mere pawns. There is considerable resistance to the recent attack on Syria by the US, UK and France following their internationally condemned use of chemical weapons. The leader of the call to have parliament recalled to vote on military action is a member of another minority group, the known communist sympathiser and anti semite, Jeremy Corbyn of the labour party, who themselves were responsible for the entire Iraqi scandal over WMD.

        Make no mistake, whilst the issue over straws is perceptibly sensible, it’s the continuing march of minority group political groupthink which distracts people from the real, and beneficial purpose of democracy. Everyone has a voice. If you want to have a bigger voice, organise a political party and get voted into parliament. If you’re the ‘straw party’ you’ll probably not get much support and no one in parliament will listen to you. But if your a pressure group, you need no official support before directing the course of British politics.

        We pay taxes to support people in need. Where’s my tax money going when people I care for, i.e. everyone, is forced to choose between heating and eating?

        Wind turbines and drinking straws, that’s where.

      • michel, be fair! He didn’t say it was a good fertiliser in public parks. He said he bagged something that is a good fertiliser (though I’m not sure he’s right) in a plastic bag where it will sit for 100 years.

        The main problem with the UK approach is that it is simply one more example of political virtue signalling. The eco-idiots all yell “plastic is bad” and the politicians never think to ask if that means all plastics in all circumstances. They simply assume that the environmentalists are telling the truth — that’ll be a first! — and polish up their eco-credentials by “doing something” regardless of whether it makes any sense or creates more problems than it solves.

        There is an article today in The Times reporting that local authorities in the UK are spending hundreds of millions of pounds a year to clean up fly-tipping (illegal dumping). It would be cheaper to go back to the days when the cost of waste disposal was a charge on local taxation instead of contracting licensed firms who charge the householder £190 a load. Illegal firms charge half that and then dump anywhere regardless of whether the waste itself is dangerous.

        The Law of Unintended Consequences is the only one guaranteed to apply where environmental matters are concerned but we never learn that lesson!

      • Hot Scot

        Dog poo is a huge problem in urban areas. Why should dogs crap all over the pavement?

        It is even worse where, bizarrely, people clean up after their dog, tie it neatly in a little black plastic bag then leave it hanging on a branch or, more bizarrely, leave it on the pavement. What is THAT about?

        tonyb

      • Wait until you have a massive outbreak of salmonella or wisteria or e coli or strep or whatever due to not sterilizing your grocery bag after every use. And how many of those things are you gonna use when making a giant purchase at the market for Thanksgiving dinner? Gonna wash them all? Did they wrap the meat in a plastic film in order not to contaminate the veggies? How was the meat packaged from farm/ranch to the market? Ditto for the veggies.

        Don’t feed your grandchildren stuff outta those bags unless everything is fully cooked/washed/blanched. And no cold salads,

        Guess the greenies could eat nothing but canned food that has been sterilized and precooked. Yummy.

        Gums sends…

      • No, that was a nonsensical figure. I cant remember the last time I used a plastic straw.

        These silly studies keep on surfacing. A little while ago we had a very weird panic about water shortages being caused by too much water being wasted. The example given was some extraordinary report showing a fantastic water usage when brushing our teeth.

        It turns out the environmental group promoting this had assumed that everyone brushed their teeth for a full three minutes three times a day and left the tap running at full speed whilst they did it.

        I wonder if the climate modellers have found new vocations drawing up absurd environmental scenarios for gullible politicians?

        tonyb

      • I have been hearing about not leaving the tap running while brushing my teeth since I was a kid. I cannot figure out who would still be doing it when I know for a fact that PSAs have been going around since the 80s.

        675 straws a year comes out to 1.85 straws a day. Even if you ate out twice a week, getting a beverage each time, that still only comes out to 104 straws a year. I suppose you could get your numbers up if you drank a lot of iced coffee or fountain drinks.

        It is probably based on bulk purchases or something, rather than actual use. I doubt anyone is actually picking through garbage counting used straws.

      • Allykat

        We eat out several times a week and have eaten out throughout our 37 year long marriage.

        I have never ever been offered drinking straws. I gave them up when i was about 12 . Who on earth offers them as a matter of course?

        Tonyb

    • bottled water in plastic bottles often shipped in from hundreds of miles away.
      Evian sold in Melbourne has a 16,500 km trip, figure out the carbon footprint on the Greens favourite drink.

      • Yes, every conference or meeting I go to seems to espouse their environmental credentials yet has bottled water on the tables in plastic bottles. Evian to Melbourne is absurd

        I would have thought plastic bottled water was low hanging fruit that could be harvested by any govt keen to gather green votes

        tonyb

  13. Hopefully the UK won’t be returning to paper straws of my childhood. After a few sucks the paper became soft due to absorbed moisture, the straw collapsed, a replacement was required. In totality which is more polluting one plastic straw or three paper ones?

  14. Of course the BBC and MSM are all over the subject of “plastic pollution”. Plastic is not the problem per se; it is people who are careless and don’t care about the environment who are the problem. I use a lot of “single-use” plastic bags, as they are very hygienic, and I dispose of them carefully.

    • Brits need to watch The Wombles again and understand how to be tidy, and not dump litter everywhere.

      • The Wombles are fictional pointy-nosed, furry creatures created by author Elisabeth Beresford, originally appearing in a series of children’s novels from 1968. They live in burrows, where they aim to help the environment by collecting and recycling rubbish in creative ways. Although Wombles supposedly live in every country in the world, Beresford’s stories are concerned with the lives of the inhabitants of the burrow on Wimbledon Common in London, England.

        The characters gained a higher national profile in the UK in the mid-1970s as a result of a BBC commissioned children’s television show which used stop motion animation. The Womble motto is “Make Good Use of Bad Rubbish”. This environmentally friendly message was a reflection of the growing environmental movement of the 1970s…

      • Fictional? What do you mean Fictional?

        All joking aside I was brought up on slogans such as ‘Keep Britain Tidy’ and the Wombles helped with awareness.

        I think youngsters now are so indoctrinated with global environmental matters that they completely forget their locality.

        Schoolchildren throwing away sweet wrappers as they walk and eat are a big problem as our youths buying take away’s with a proportion thinking its a good idea to throw the waste out of their cars. Now there’s a target for extra taxation-takeaways and the amount of readily discarded rubbish they produce

        tonyb

      • “I can’t believe I watched that.”

        Albert, the theme tune became so popular they formed a band which appeared on Top of The Pops and made the UK top 10 in record sales. After that, we had to invent The Sex Pistols just to restore a little bit of balance.

        At some point the insanity of today’s plastic-banners will also induce a response. The times actually feel quite similar in many respects: There are serious structural economic and social issues in the nation that need to be addressed, but the BBC and government elites are more concerned with environmental virtue signalling as the left-of-center politics is being invaded by unreconstructed communists. This time around, global-warming and climate change are also being invoked as extra reasons for dismantling capitalism.

    • climatereason

      We don’t want more taxes, we want less.

      In the early 70’s I paid roughly 30% of my salary in tax and National Insurance to central government. That covered virtually everything from weflare provision, BHS, defence and bin collections.

      Then VAT was introduced at 8%, which i supported as it would lighten the burden of the 30% and it gave me the choice to spend that 8% as I wished.

      VAT is now 20%, my Income Tax and NI contributions have barely changed in % terms, and I now pay Council Tax whilst services have been slashed. I pay for prescriptions, childcare, and my children (and I) pay for their higher education. If I drive into London I pay a congestion charge, if I park in an NHS car park I get fleeced whether visiting or as a patient. Our energy bills are now subject to levy’s for ‘clean energy and we are being threated with a charge to have our bins emptied based on weight.

      We are overrun with taxes and charges whilst our idiotic government wastes £Bn’s on clean energy subsidies, over and above the amount we taxpayers are forced to pay on our energy bills.

      They also waste time, effort and money on banning plastic straws.

      And the alternative to our current mob of no hopers? Guess who, the communist sympathiser and anti semite, Jeremy Corbyn.

      I’m certain he’ll grant your wish for more taxes.

      • HotScot
        +10
        I empathise and sympathise with you! As always, your comments hit the nail on the head. We are all being screwed by a combination of direct taxes and the now insidious stealth taxes whether those are scooped up by the government or via surcharges on everything from energy to plastic bag charges.

      • In the US there are some 200 taxes that did not exist a hundred years ago. Besides taxes on food, goods, and services, whenever anything new is invented, they add specific taxes on it in addition to those taxes. Sometimes they try to mask the tax by calling it a franchise fee, recovery fee, regulatory fee, disposal fee, or whatever, but it’s still a tax.
        Government has gotten way too big. It’s almost time to clean the slate and start over.

      • Don’t forget that in the 70s the British government ran a large portion of the economy through its various nationalized industries, many of them loss-making and propped up with taxpayers’ money. Now they collect even more tax but the nationalized industries have gone. So they need something for government employees to do to justify the ever-increasing tax demands.

        Every time I look at the amount of tax I pay here in Canada, I’m so glad I left the UK years ago. But Trudeau is doing his best to help us catch up.

      • MarkG

        A very good point, and another of my objections to our current socialist government wrapping itself in the shrouds of Conservatism, and previous governments, likewise.

        The UK emerged from WW” saddled in debt to America. My parents, who fought in that war, paid for it as well, with far less taxation than our generations do now.

        Taxation is a profitable game, and I object to it.

      • HotScot, yes, see my comment above.

        It seems we have come full circle. I also remember when there was a lot of rubbish in the streets because the bin-men went on strike (like so many others in the 1970s). This time there is more rubbish floating around the streets because of more fly-tipping induced by waste disposal being so expensive and problematic….partly because of ill thought out environmental regulations with the buck being continuously passed on to someone else. Politicians have stopped doing their jobs again-they are paying too much attention to vocal minorities and not enough attention to the unfashionable basic needs of the bulk of the population.

      • Mark G,

        If taxes are heavy and rising and there is nationalization of industry going on in your country, the odds are that your government is getting short of money.

        Ironically if a government wishes to foster a greater tax take, they will do better by cutting taxes and their spending.

        This is something Donald Trump is aware of as he knows that the stimulation of the economy in this way will produce more gross tax revenue as industry comes back to America and more individuals return to the work place etc.

        Economics 101 actually:)

        Cheers

        Roger

        http://www.thedemiseofchristchurch.com

      • rogerthesurf

        Too many Western nations are being overtaken by a tide of debt. The concept of trading cheap debt against profitable investment has largely turned turtle for most as interest rates have been suppressed globally since 2008.

        That bubble burst and as far as I can see, our socialist brethren see this as an excuse to attack capitalism.

        The fact is, mankind evolved through profitable trading since its birth. There are winners, and there are losers, mostly defined by fate, luck, privilege, intelligence, education……whatever.

        Our socialist brethren would redesign that natural progression into one which defines precisely who would be wealthy and who would be poor.

        There would be no difference in the amount of money or goods traded, just that the distribution of both would be unnaturally managed.

        Capitalism isn’t perfect, but humanity has evolved from it. The alternatives are artificial constructs, designed to devolve power and wealth to those most unworthy of the responsibility of either.

        The very person one votes for in a political race, is the very person most unworthy of election, because they promote themselves for their personal objectives.

        Politics is an exercise in egotism.

        You are of course correct. If a nation is nationalising, it’s run out of money. Most of the Western world ran out of money many years ago and encouraged the socialist concept of sharing a dwindling resource, instead of working harder to increase a valuable commodity.

        The modern version of nationalisation is to spunk taxpayers money on renewable energy. A disgusting fantasy which will rape our children and grandchildren of their futures.

        I suspect both you and I are part of the baby boom generation which was encouraged to work hard, save, and provide for our future in retirement. Now we are being condemned for doing what’s right under almost any circumstances.

        I despise anyone that condemns me for doing what was right for me and my family during my working life.

  15. While this may be mostly virtue signalling from the government, I do actually support steps to reduce plastic rubbish. Unlike CAGW, plastic pollution is a fact. You only have to drive along our rural lanes, walk on the beach or in the woods. Plastic bags littering hedges and trees, all sorts of plastic being washed up on beaches etc.

    Banning stuff is not really the answer though.

    We’ve seen a noticeable increase in rubbish in our rural area since the councils switched to collecting the bins only every other week instead of weekly. This has led to overflowing bins and rubbish blowing everywhere. Council tips are also now much stricter on who they let in so we have far more fly tipping going on etc, etc. It seems to me that steps put in place to restrict waste collection have simply resulted in more waste going into the general environment rather than landfill. This may have been because government signed up to unrealistic targets to reduce waste in landfill which carried fines for non compliance. It almost seems like because littering our country side and marine environment carried no fines it was the preferred strategy!

      • Everyone should. Pick up just one piece a day to make up for any that you may have left, intentionally or otherwise, and we’ll have a cleaner place to live in.

      • Yes I do. I pick up an average of 5 pieces of rubbish a day. Usually plastic bottles or discarded McDonalds take away’s. Morons! A heavy tax on takeaways is needed.

        tonyb

      • Do we all get to propose heavy taxes to ban behavior we don’t like? Or are only some people so privileged?

      • AnitaJH ,

        Apart from respecting the environment by building a house on a rocky hill and electing not to use heavy machinery on the foundations, I do my bit picking up rubbish if I see any. Fortunately in my country, most people are thoughtful, and its rare to see any stuff floating around.

        I was checking that Mud4fun was not a green leftist moaner and am pleased that she appears to be ready to put her actions where her mouth is.:)

        Cheers

        Roger

      • rogerthesurf… my country is the same as yours. I’m in Auckland, hence the reference to being up north and you being down south. Being in a biggish city we see a lot more litter on the streets and beaches than you do in Christchurch. I’m not a green leftist moaner either… but I get annoyed that when bad Kiwis drop straws in the gutter our storm water drains don’t have a mechanism to filter them (and other rubbish) out. Instead they end up in the sea and on beaches. Grrr…

    • Yes, agreed, unlike CAGW its a fact, and it is right to take measures to stop it.

      The worst consequence of the CAGW mania is that it has aroused skepticism and hostility to all sorts of perfectly sensible measures. Like this one.

    • The directive to reduce landfill waste originally stemmed from the EU’s fear that they were fast running out of holes to put the rubbish – and the UK, like the rest of Europe, were forced to toe the line. But, the UK still has plenty of huge disused stone quarries. Hundreds and hundreds of them. That’s why there are so many old stone towns and buildings – and as each old quarry is filled and compacted with household landfill, new houses (which are prone to subsidence) are built on top.

      • Thanks Phil. In addition, the increased amount of landfill waste is compounded by the vast increase in the use of ‘incontinence pads’ (often 3 x the size of a baby’s disposable nappy) due to our older generation with weak bladders living for far longer on medication that gives them weak muscle control to hold back urine in the first place.

    • Mud4fun

      It’s not plastic “pollution”…..it’s litter!!! Dispose of it sensibly and it isn’t a problem!!!

      • Yes, Phil Rae, it’s just litter. The more people there are on this planet, the more litter they produce. Just think about all the nappies and baby wipes that are needed for all these kids that nobody really wants, if they were honest. I don’t have a single friend, male or female, who has kids that hasn’t told me in a state of honesty that they regret having had them. Like it or not, it’s a problem that needs sorting regardless of whether this planet is heating up (unlikely) or cooling down.

      • I pity you and your friends. I pity even more your kids.
        Most of the people I know wish they could have afforded more children.

    • Tonyb: you have identified the problem but came to the wrong conclusion. Putting a tax on takeaways won’t stop the littering and may increase it. You have essentially forced everyone, including those not currently littering, to pay to have someone else clean it up, so why bother doing it yourself? Do you really believe, though, that government will actually use the tax money to do that clean-up? Of course not. Now you have only fed the beast and made the original problem worse.

      The solution is to have a honking big fine on littering, enforce it, and use the fines to pay for that enforcement. If government doesn’t enforce it, they get no revenue.

      I am against all taxes that are levied on everyone to rectify problems committed by just some, unless the funds are used to punish those causing the problem.

      • Jtom

        We all pay for someone else to clear up after us by way of our council taxes. Some people will just litter no matter what.

        I agree about fining people, but the trouble is that the enforcers then tend to target even the trivial. The takeaways produce a big percentage of the rubbish on the streets they should be made to clear it up

        Tonyb

      • A tax won’t do that. It can’t.
        The tax has already been paid when the decision to throw away is being made, so it’s impossible for a tax, no matter how big to influence that decision.

        If we start trying to tax heavily everything that somebody doesn’t like, it won’t be long until nobody can afford to do anything. Which is probably the goal.

    • “You only have to drive along our rural lanes, walk on the beach or in the woods.”

      That’s because the British government imposed such insane garbage collection rules that people now just dump stuff anywhere that’s not their tiny little garbage bin.

      You could, you know, just collect all the garbage. But SJWs gotta double-down. Can’t admit that they caused the problem and roll back the changes that did so.

    • You have missed out the landfill tax which amongst other purposes is used to fund environmental research and the disgusting practice of interfering with wildlife to measure ring collar anaesthetise trap and terrorise for the employment of the unsupervised products of our overpriced ex polytechnic schools masquerading as universities.
      Today’s story of the brown bear in Italy is an example of the unrelenting cruelty perpetuated by so called scientists.
      Disgusting behaviour on an industrial scale.

    • Didn’t know that. That makes the solution way easier.

      We need to just tax Asia and Africa. That way the ocean plastic pollution problem will be alleviated.

      So, tax Asia & Africa, and ban plastic straws & cotton swabs in Europe … problem solved.

  16. The attack on disposable plastic is strange.

    If it were an attack on small, single-use items to prevent litter then that would make sense. But it isn’t.

    Plastic just gets substituted for other items that don’t function as well (requiring more to be made for wastage) or that last just as long in the environment.

    It’s almost as though the argument that we need oil companies for materials as well as energy has been taken on board by Greens a new political norm fabricated,

  17. Is it not true that 90% of plastic pollution in the oceans emanates from the major
    rivers in the East where there are very large populations and there is
    is very little recycling?

  18. Most Australian states have banned (or will soon) “single use” supermarket plastic bags. Of course, for most people they are not single use. They are used for storing things, carrying things, or for bin liners.

    Those bags weigh 5 grams each.

    The kitchen tidy bin liners we will now buy instead weigh 10 grams.

    So for many people that will result in the disposal of twice as much plastic.

  19. I think we really do need to recycle more, and stopping filling the oceans with plastic may well be very sensible. There are simple ways.

    I’m in Italy, and recycling seems to be a mania. If you get a bag in a shop, or for veg in a supermarket, it’s a composting bag for organic waste. What’s not to like? You have to buy them anyway, so serious reuse there.

  20. It isn’t just me then who thinks that this whole plastic ‘crisis’ is just a sinister attempt to persuade the world’s hoodwinked minions to forget all about global warming. “Er, yes it wasn’t man-made CO2 after all, we got it horribly wrong, so we’re banning plastic.”

    Like the ‘scourge of single-use carrier bags’, why not ban all those single-use asthma inhaler cases. With 300 million asthmatics in the world (that includes me) getting through an average of 10 Ventolins, Becotides or Seretides each year – why do we get a new plastic outer case every time? Why can’t we rinse it out and re-use it for our next little cannister of medicinal magic gas? Just another bunch of selfish environmental polluters – that’s us.

  21. Recently visited Tasmania (Au).
    Didn’t see one piece of plastic in the water anywhere (harbours/beaches/rivers).
    Saw untold coffee cups and shopping bags etc. in people’s hands (not one on the streets).
    Au Gov still about to ban plastic ‘supermarket’ shopping bags.
    Is the problem really that big in the ‘civilised’ World?
    My guess, it’s politicians self immortalizing.
    “Under my Government we banned “this & that”.
    It’s also a left-wing badge of honour to have successfully banned something.

  22. The real reason that the UK wants to ban plastic straws is that, after knives are banned, skilled ninja assassins in North London will murder their victims with plastic straws.

    • Actually there is an increase in attacks using bottles of corrosive liquids to squirt in peoples’ faces.

      Further proof that weapon restrictions just cause criminals to use different weapons.

    • “When (Fill in the blank) are banned, only criminals will have (Fill in the blank with same)!”
      Knives, hammers, acids, guns, clubs….. Violent criminals will use any weapon against a vulnerable disarmed population. The right to self defense, and the right to carry an effective self defense weapon, is the greatest and best deterrence to criminal violence.

    • British doctors actually advocated banning pointy kitchen knives. I guess then the knife murder epidemic in London would have to continue with slashing rather than stabbing. You have a better chance of surviving a stabbing than having your throat or neck cut.

      Those intent on murder won’t be deterred by a lack of pointed knives. Next, the UK would have to ban pipe wrenches, or as known in the Misty Isles, Stillsons. Followed by metal pipes themselves. Followed by rocks.

      • It doesn’t take a lot of skill, ingenuity, or time to make a non-pointy knife into a pointy one.

      • True. It’s done with spoons in prison.

        Ban spoons! Whether metal, wooden or plastic. We should all eat a liquid diet, drunk from bowls. Although a bowl could also be a weapon. Paper bowls then. Except for the lost forests needed to make them.

      • You can make a shiv (prison lingo for makeshift weapon) out of toilet paper. Wrap it around a base, wet it, let it dry, repeat. You eventually get a piece of pseudo-wood that’s solid enough to hold a point.

  23. I agree with the need to do something about the fad for bottled water. UK water is perfectly safe to drink so there is no need for it anyway. The plastic bottles get thrown all over the place by litter louts, after which they blow around with the wind. When they end up on the road they are a safety hazard. (Drivers cannot tell if they are plastic or glass so have to avoid them.) Maybe they need a minimum price for bottled water, or a fairly hefty deposit on the bottle.

    • In France and Italy, and probably Spain, people usually drink mineral water. The water in the UK tastes like shit, but I’m sure the Brits would be happy to drink it anyway. After all, they drink crappy instant coffee, and awful types of herbal tea. The only reason they drink mineral water is because they think it’s a cool thing to do. If you put the price up by 1 pence a bottle, most of them would stop drinking it.

    • First, do you really assume the right to tell others what to drink or how to spend their money? I hope not. Secondly, don’t punish or inconvenience everybody for the actions of some. Put a huge fine on littering, and actually enforce it.
      You might start with those Travelers who use the UK as their personal dumping ground.

    • Go to a cinema and the choice is huge sweet fizzy drinks or bottled water (at the same price). As a diabetic, I’ve effectively stopped seeing movies away from home

  24. I wish I had photos of plastic bag contamination in Africa and some parts of Asia. All water channels, public toilets, and foreshores are clogged with festering plastic in or near most/many slums. I have walked food markets where the ‘street’ is paved in discarded plastic. Trees are decorated with them (wind-blown) as though it may be Christmas. One of the first countries in Africa to ban plastic bags was Eritrea. Good on them.

    I don’t see any good coming from plastic in our oceans. I recall a video of a Korean long-liner bating hooks. The bait was from plastic bags immediately thrown into he ocean on being emptied. I am not a greenie but there are limits.

    Regards

    Michael C

    • That doesn’t seem like the problem of plastic bags. The problem seems to be poverty and trashing. If we are going to ban things just because it can cause problems in the environment, then we need to ban way more things than just plastic bags.

      • Third World immigrants willing to defecate in the street and teach their kids to do the same aren’t going to scruple over throwing away plastic bags. Ideally they’d at least put the excrement in them.

    • Yes, Michael, there are limits, and I’d like to see some of the folks who contribute to this site living in shitty, crowded, littered noisy places. They’d be the first to moan. And they’d move away to a nicer place as soon as they got the chance!

      • Now I know why you and your friends regret having kids. Your lives are miserable and you want to share that misery with others.

    • One reason this is such a problem is that many of these countries have little to no garbage collection and few official dumps. Kenya recently banned plastic bags, but I am not sure how much of a difference it will make to the garbage/litter problem. Even in Nairobi, garbage collection is non-existent in many areas. People either burn the waste or leave it where it fell. People are so used to trash being everywhere that they do not really notice it. Visitors from developed countries are usually aghast when they see litter all over the place, but the locals just think it is normal.

      Perhaps some NGOs or the UN should do something really useful: establish places for waste disposal and/or recycling, and do some massive education on the benefits of proper garbage disposal. (Of course, someone will probably scream racism or that such ideas are colonialist or culture-destroying.) Realistically, this would still probably take at least a couple of generations. Change is hard, even when it is reasonable.

      However, I think that bans in the US are generally stupid. My biggest reason is that I do reuse the “single” use bags for things like wastebasket liners. I also am bothered by the fact that when there are charges for bags (5 cents, etc.), said charges are not necessarily used for litter cleanup. If the bags are such a problem, then any associated tax (because it is a tax, make no mistake) should be spent on on the problem, not put in the general slush fund.

      • MarkW, I don’t regret having kids as I am, thankfully, child free! It’s my poor friends who regret having had them, especially my female friends. I can’t figure out why you responded in such an emotional way to my comment above about litter. Perhaps, unconsciously, you think kids are ‘litter’??

  25. The ridiculous thing about he plastic bag restrictions is that I get a ridiculous number of bags from charities asking me to fill them with old clothes and leave them out for collection. I average more than one of these a week and got 3 in one day once; how many clothes do these people think I buy?

    • Be careful who you blame. In our area there are many drop off boxes for clothes and shoes for charity with Red Cross, Diabetes, MS, etc on the boxes.
      In actuality, the boxes are tended by used clothing businesses which make a small! donation to the charity to use their name. I expect the same applies to the bags, a business distributes the bags in the name of the charity so as to get their free used clothes. A small pittance is paid to the charity.

  26. Nine articles out of a total of 22 on the Telegraphs Environment page were about plastic pollution. Only one about Global Warming, sorry, Climate Change.
    All the other scare stories failed to fly so here we are. Our pathetic government laps it up as a simple virtue signal requiring no real effort on their part. Ban it or tax it. Sugar tax on fizzy drinks just brought in. Extra tax on diesel cars just brought in. It is like watching a government sponsored train wreck……except of course you cannot tax or ban train wrecks………or can you?

  27. It seems that the alternative to EU regulation is just national regulation. Apparently politician is still a politician no matter how far away he or she is.

  28. As I recall, the cotton buds ‘problem’ was mostly about them being flushed down toilets and blocking the drains. (Also ladies sanitary products)
    A self generated problem because the Q-tips combine with saturated fat – ever so carefully removed from food by health-conscious individuals and thence dropped into the same effluent stream as the Q-tips.
    As the old saying goes: “You cannot make bricks without straw” and therein is what happens. The cold & solidifying fat combines with the Q-tips and makes ‘bricks’ – hard lumps of stuff that block drains.
    London fatberg
    Then of course, nobody wanted to go and clean them out.
    So much for ‘Broken Window’ economics.

    Enterprising Victorians did just that, removed the fat from the drains & cleaned it up a bit AND THEN, sold the fat back to the kitchen chefs.
    Just beautiful. Folks knew what was good to eat back then.

    Thanks to doctors, their pills and a DNA ‘thing’ that makes my blood clot much faster than it normally would – I have few vices.
    Another thing doctors say is “Don’t eat saturated fat” )
    Doncha just love the smell of good intentions unravelling fast?

    2 of the vices I have left are driving (the dirty diesel) and exploring, esp visiting new pubs to drink coffee & play on the Wifi. I am a semi-professional explorer, observer and nosey parker.
    Where I iz now. Wetherspoons in Worksop.
    Hence my take on the plastic bag story. The Government Line was that there are millions and millions of these things blowing on the wind and creating an unsightly mess across vast swathes of the UK and taxing them would ‘clean the place up’
    My exploring revealed just how out of touch these people must be.
    It simply wasn’t true. Period.
    The country is not, was not, littered with these things in the way described.

    What The Ban (tax) did was simply add an extra cost/expense to large retailers. They had to employ extra people to manage the scheme – these people then becoming tax-payers. (Recall, easily 65% of a UK person’s gross salary goes in mandatory take. Even larger since April 5th with the 3% increase in mandatory pension contributions and a price (tax) hike amounting to over 30% on soda pop.
    Please UK Government, where is the money coming from to pay these people – if not from an increase in resource use somewhere else within (what we have left of) the economy?
    Jevon’s Paradox on speed.

    Plastic drinking straws:
    Being in the perfect place to do the research, I have grabbed one of the new paper straws off the bar.
    1. It comes individually wrapped in a paper sleeve, the old plastic one didn’t.
    2. Seems to made of paper but is actually waxed paper.
    Calling any Einsteins we have within UK bureaucracy – What is wax made of?
    Is it not a possible precursor to plastic and a significant component of diesel? Wax is why diesel engines smoke, trying to burn these very long chain hydrocarbons.
    Also why the formulation of diesel here in the UK changes during winter. When it’s cold, UK diesel becomes 33% kerosene to try and keep the wax within it from freezing solid.

    (There’s a lovely thing about dirty diesels and city centre pollution. Instead of getting everyone to buy new cars and trucks, why not get the oil companies to simply change the recipe for diesel. Add more kerosene into into, reduce the heavy wax content and put in a Cetane improver to help it burn cleaner. Will never happen will it? Too simple and just look at the tax revenue stream coming from the sales of new vehicles. If that dried up, will put an end to Big Willyism and to shooting missiles into Syria? Ha ha ha)

    Plastic stirrers.
    OK they have a point, again they can get into the sewage system and create fatbergs. The paper straws actually make good stirrers for cold drinks because they are much fatter that the plastic ones ever were.
    Stirrers for hot drinks did use to be metal (stainless steel) teaspoons.
    But guess what. Following our own Government’s lead for efficiency, economy and recycling, folks visiting the pubs took the teaspoons home with them.
    To recycle.

    The workings of the Insanity Machine really is a thing of beauty and true wonder of our times.

    • wax paper is either beswax or a blend of beeswax n parrafin
      beeswax sure isnt used in fuel. its too expensive and limited supply as more bees die off.

  29. In the UK, this week job losses were announced due to a drop in diesel car sales. In turn,this is due to the banning of diesel and petrol engined cars from 2040.

    So, drivers do not upgrade but keep their car for longer. Engines with more miles on them emit more ‘stuff’.

    So this green announcement of no more IC cars from 2040 is increasing pollution and costing jobs.

    Well done politicians…..

    • Don’t worry. They will soon see the error of their ways, and use the situation as an excuse to restrict the sale of gasoline and diesel (limited to haulers, law, emergency, and politicians). See? Problem solved.

  30. To our overseas friends it might seem a bit strange that a government that is labelled Conservative is doing stupid things like this. First of all, they are conservative in name only. They are centre left liberals and until Marxist communist anti-semite Jeremy Corbyn became Labour leader, barely distinguishable from that party. In fact the bulk of the Labour members of parliament and those in government would be at home in the same party. To help identify the parties they are often called Blue Labour and Red Labour. And the second thing to note is that currently the UK is governed by total morons. There is little voters can currently do about it as it is just a choice of which moron at the ballot box.

    • ‘Wait until they ban condoms’. The way some folks in the UK are breeding, I don’t think they’ve ever used a condom! Perhaps the government should let them have some for free, and teach them how to exercise a little bit of self control too. And stop their benefits as well.

  31. Theresa May hopes to use the announcement to encourage the Commonwealth heads of government to join the fight as the meeting opens formally on Thursday.

    Oh dear, with our vacuous PM, this stupdity is bound to occur now in Canada.

    Just a point, there are no single use plastic bags in my household. They are reeused many times and ultimately used to pick up doggy-doo.

  32. Okay, no plastic grocery bags, huh? Well, then, where does one put the stuff from the catboxes? That is NOT going down my drains, period. You want a clog? The clay used in cat litter is specifically designed to absorb liquid quickly and dry out quickly, and clump like mad. And no, you can’t put on the vegetable garden, either. It’s no good for that. So it will go into the landfill, and because it’s full of urine and feces, it will slowly but surely create enough of a methane load to make the dump explode some day.

    I will enjoy it. And I don’t live in England. But a couple of years ago, Illinois tried a plastic bags ban, which annoyed shoppers A LOT. As a result, stores kept the bags, but charged a small fee for them, so we smarter shoppers bought reusable shopping bags. I have a pile of them – very sturdy, and I use them for a lot of things. That was then.

    The “ban” on those shopping bags ended when the stores couldn’t make a cent off the bags and got complaints from customers about the charge. I use the reusable bags, anyway, and enjoyed dragging the Aldi bags into Walmart. :-) The ban/extra charge finally came to a halt and we went back to business as usual.

    And I can’t think of a better way to recycle those thin plastic shopping bags than to put the stuff from the cat boxes into it. I also use them for collecting the cat food cans and lids for recycling, at a dollar a pound at the recycling center. Why let money go down the drain?

  33. Wrong target as usual. This was actually hilarious.

    https://www.joe.co.uk/entertainment/the-one-show-filled-their-studio-with-plastic-rubbish-and-everyone-made-the-same-joke-173201

    Prime time BBC propaganda telling us we were destroying the oceans with cotton buds and coffee cups.

    One problem – take a close look – 99.999% of the plastic waste they have collected is fishing and shipping waste – fishing net, floats, buoys, lobster pots, broken boats, fish boxes etc. etc. Nearly every picture of plastic beach pollution actually in the UK shows the same sort of thing.

    Another issue in the UK is a plague of foxes and gulls that the do-gooders insist shouldn’t be culled. Every morning all the public bins are totally emptied out onto the streets and seafront by these vermin.

    • Of course, foxes and gulls have no money, so fining *them* for littering would be pointless. ;]

    • In the UK only a very limited amount of plastic waste is actually recycled locally. The bulk of it is compressed into bales and transported to the Far East for “recycling”. What actually happens to it is anyone’s guess, but it is taken for granted that the UK has met its obligations under the recycling regulations. But if most plastic in the oceans originated in Asia it’s possible that the answer is to stop “recycling” in Europe.

  34. Sustainability is not impacting future generations with what we do today. That includes respecting the environment that sustains all life.

    Companies would be more responsible if their business plan included recycling their waste. Apple is reported to be worth 7-800 billion dollar and they wouldn’t have that ridiculous wealth if they had to recycle their waste. Millions of of phones are discarded every year. Same applies to others including Microsoft or other companies. Bottled water is a big industry, what do they pay to deal with their waste products?
    This is what we do in construction estimating so waste is minimized.

    There are millions of tons of plastic in the Pacific Ocean wit that domino effect into our bodies. CBC did an investigation of Apple as one example and the eco damage they caused in Indonesia looking for tin was disgraceful. Child labor was exploited to do the open pit mining. They showed workers building the phones and being exploited to get the product out. Apple does that as do others to save money. Build it cheap and bring it back to countries to sell retail for ridiculous profits.

    Companies use China to build all the crap cheap and make outrageous profits. The Shark Tank always refer to getting products made in China to maximize profits but you are getting what you pay for. The smog in China doesn’t allow you to see across the street and that smog is reported to circulate the globe in 3 weeks. I have bought GE products in Canada and they didn’t even work because they are made in areas where there is no quality control.

    Good for Britain for dealing with the plastics, what we don’t recycle recycles through us. The Environmental Working Group did a study called the Body Burden where the Red Cross randomly picked 10 umbilical cords from US hospitals. The cord was thought to be a filter between the mom and the baby while they cycle blood back and forth.

    The results were the umbilical cord blood had 100s of chemicals in them and they only checked for a few hundred. 100% of the umbilical cords had Mercury, banned pesticides, fossil fuel emissions, fire retardants, scotch guards, plastics and more. Our medical lead spoke with an Oncologist about the chemical load and the Oncologist said they would have cancers from conception. I was asked how these chemicals got into moms who did not work in toxic environments. Mom absorbed it, drank it, ate it, breathed it.

    I was asked in my capacity if we could isolate inflammations in the body as toxins attack a specific part of the body. Our team went to waste water management and asked about the the pollutants caught in water treatment. Everything we consume, dump in a drain, pee or poop into the toilet goes to waste water treatment before the water is released down stream. None of the pollutants are caught and the sludge is put on our agriculture. It should be used as a renewable resource for creating electricity but that competes with oil industries.

    Every year we have Breast Cancer awareness and shirts, More toxins, dyes, fossil fuel emissions contributing to health and environmental problems. Good for Britain and all countries need to participate or there isn’t a happy ending. The youngest girl to have a breast removed in Canada was 4 years old, thank goodness her doctors found it. Men need to know this is affecting your parts as well. Our non invasive radiology applications are isolating problems and there are far to many.

    Planet Earth sustains all life, not the other way around. We aren’t doing a good job.

  35. The problem is that I understand that 90 % of the plastic in the oceans comes from the major rivers in the East
    where there are millions of people living close
    to the large rivers such as the Mekon and Ganges etc. These areas of the world have
    little or no recycling and plastic gets thrown into the rivers.

    • Y’know, if I’m downstream in the Ganges, I may be delighted if only plastic bottles bombard me.

      Beats the usual dead bodies and turds from upstream.

      But,being Western,Christian,evil, white,racist must not discuss such cultural delights.

      And must hand over the straws.

  36. …”This pointless ban suggests the fake plastic crisis is getting traction in green Britain.”
    =============
    Pretty sure it was just rubber, but this is what traction looks like:

  37. Maybe they should build water treatment facilities if flushed items are such a problem.

    • My family has been in the sewage treatment equipment business since the 50’s. Straining out junk is a part of the process. Many municipalities don’t spend the money for modern treatment.

      • Portland Oregon doesn’t want to spend the money (for part of their system, during high flows).

        Greenie Portland has DEQ “waivers” allowing them to dump shit (and Q-tips) into the Columbia River system.

  38. What some people do not understand, apparently the UK Parliament, that single use items as listed in the article can be very important for hygiene, to prevent spreading communicable diseases, especially now with resistant bacteria raising their ugly heads. Florida reacting to mercury in fish caught in the Everglades passed rules to eliminate all mercury items from the waste stream. Problem was that most of those items were medical waste. Eliminating them actually increased the cost of medical procedures in the state. One odd thing that was eliminated were mercury thermometers. The technocrats, educated by certain manufacturers, claimed there were plenty of alternatives. So not only did Florida ban sale but also set up programs for homeowners to dispose to them. Of course the alternatives are primarily battery operated. If you don’t regularly replace the battery when you need to take your kids temperature in the middle of the night you have to run around finding/ hoping you have the right battery. I questioned everyone involved whether traditional mercury thermometers had been documented as ever causing mercury poisoning. I ask them to give me a single case in the USA, not just Florida. They sputtered and stammered and never answered me. They just claimed that all human use of mercury had to be eliminated immediately. Of course the problem in the Everglades was never solved. These same technocrats had not bothered to read the literature concerning peat soils. Peat soils accumulate over millennia and doing so they also accumulate atmospheric mercury. It is fine until peat sediments are disturbed, then methyl mercury is released. So either when the sea level rise and floods the Glades or the soils totally decompose because of prolonged drought the mercury will continued to be release.

  39. Anyone who is old enough will remember that the reason we have plastic grocery bags is because the environmentalists of the early ’70’s demanded that we stop using paper bags because we were killing all the trees.

    So, instead, we started using a waste product of oil to make bags in order to save the trees.

    • Outstanding, Don!!

      And then, duringthe early 90’s, we found that the landfills had more paper products by far than plastic, even tho we were trying to save the trees by using plastic.

      Now we are concerned with cosmetic ornaments on our trees and roadsides composed of plactic bags and bottled water plastic containers and…. Oh yeah, a few sea turtles try to eat a plastic bag that resembles jellyfish.

      Ya just can’t win.

      As with guns, people’s behavior has more effect than hardware control or material control.

      Gums sends…

    • Symbolic nonsense.

      Surfers are some of the most sanctimonious dullards on the planet.

      Considering the amount of petrochemicals and the absurd pollution caused by polyester resins
      and poly blanks, plus nylon boardies, wetsuits and the problems of disposing of old boards,the
      best thing you can do is quit.

      We won’t mention the travel emissions…

  40. Plastic bags are a bit of a joke, especially at the grocery store. They are weak, so especially with canned and liquid goods, they have to use a lot, just to be safe. We bring our own, very sturdy bags – they can easily hold 10 to 15 pounds. Been doing it for many, many years. Same bags. Yes, we occasionally can find a use for a plastic bag, but not 20 of them.

    • Do you wash those bags between uses? If you don’t, you are putting your family’s health at risk.

      • That’s a myth, and a convenient one. Obviously, anything like chicken goes in it’s own little bag. In over 30 years, never had a problem.

      • It is not a myth.

        It is not just chicken but pork and ground beef.

        Then there’s the salad greens and such. Ask anyone who served in the southeast asia fracas about raw greens and salads.

        If you have the means to sterilize your bags, then go for it until the windmills stop providing electrons or you burn precious tree residue to heat the water. It’s a losibng deal, but using dirty bags over and over is your choice.

        Gums sends…

  41. Pardon me, but our family has been in the plastic molding business for over 50 years, so please permit me to make a few comments:
    “Plastic” is an all encompassing word. Disposables, packaging, and the like, are the real culprits in pollution.
    Disposables and packaging consume a huge proportion of the feed stock for all plastics. Reducing disposables intelligently makes durable plastics less expensive.
    Many plastics are produced from coal and natural gas. Still fossil fuels, but not tied to the price of oil.
    Recycling as a solution for disposables is problematic. Ultimately, there has to be a volume end use for any of the recycled feed goods. That is lacking in most cases. The recycling market has been completely upended by the ban on imported recycled plastic by the Chinese. Many empty trade containers were returned to China with bales of recycled materials, but that has ended. They converted it into material to be used by their industry where quality standards were often overlooked. Here in the US it is very hard to maintain quality while using post recycling plastic. We need a new paradigm, whether it is clean incineration, or source reduction (gradual replacement of disposables)
    When you consider the fossil fuel costs to transport all of the recyclables, is it really worth it economically? If they are aggregated, and then just put into a landfill by the recycling company because there is no market for it, what have we accomplished?
    We recycle as much plastic as we can and specify second generation reprocessed materials whenever possible, but engineering standards often don’t permit it. End use development is desperately needed.

  42. I’m all in. Then make the plastic water bottles have strapped attached caps. I walk beaches 5 days a week and pick up at least 20 caps in 3 miles

  43. So, I wonder … is the establishment going to ban disposable baby (and geriatric) diapers? Seriously – we make them by the millions. Millions PER DAY. Their purpose is obvious – sit on a shelf or in a box until needed. Swathe a bottom, let ‘er blow… contain the mess, be removed and tossed in the waste bin, eventually to wend its way to a landfill.

    Shîtbags are full of plastics. Biodegradable or not, plastics. Full of elastic polymers, plastic tapes, plastic adhesives. 3 kinds of plastic liners and outer films. Plastic inks and dyes. And we make billions per year of these little packages of love.
    _______

    I often think about other things like this: the enormous waste stream produced by the whole medical profession. Endless throw-aways. One-use-everything. Where does it all go?

    Will next be on the list the frankly life-saving common household kitchen film that is used to wrap food, cover dishes, keep bad-acting microbes at bay? The same film(s) that package all meat products at the grocery store. The plastic bags that the laundry sheathes one’s laundered jackets, hung shirts, slacks? What of the endless production and disposal of plastic bags, and with special honorable irony, plastic trash bags? We make plastic to contain garbage, to make more tidy the disposal of the very same refuse.
    _______

    In California, we have a plastic-bag tax. 10¢/ea., at the grocery store. Now at clothing stores, at sundry stores, at drug stores and even at boxed-product item stores (e.g. Walmart, Best Buy, Petco). Where does the 10¢ go? It is obviously collected. Who is getting the dough, and from there, where is it being funneled into? Perhaps bag-plastic mitigation efforts? One wonders.

    Back to baby-bumsacks, is there a 10¢ per unit tax on those? No? Why not? Should the granny bûm sacks carry a 20¢ per unit tax due to being at LEAST double the dimensions?

    Just asking,
    GoatGuy

    • As far as baby diapers/napkins goes – who’s seen a diaper service around lately? We used one in the early 1980’s for our first child, but by the time of the second, the service had closed down. With my wife working part-time, there was no way we could wash and sterilise 4-6 diapers per day, so disposables was the only way!

  44. Never mind the fact that the “pollution of the world’s rivers and oceans” is not being done by England, the U.S., or any other of the dozens of Western countries. They all banned dumping in rivers and oceans decades ago and, like the U.S., have been cleaning up their messes left over from the industrial period. The plastic waste in the oceans is coming from poor countries in Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

    This is another scheme by the intellectually-challenged, driven by their loathing of all humans (other than themselves). It will do nothing to remove plastic from rivers and oceans because it isn’t coming from England in the first place.

  45. There are approximately 11 million disabled people in the UK and only a small percentage of these people have to drink through a straw. So where is the incentive for local companies to produce this small number of plastic straws if allowed? There would be no financial gain to a company for the same reasons there is almost nil research into genetic diseases that affect just a small proportion of the population. The UK government would have to import plastic straws for disabled people from countries that do not ban plastics which to me reeks of hypocrisy.

  46. ‘over 100,000 sea mammals die from eating or getting tangled up in plastic waste’

    Habeus corpi.

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