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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Bryan A

Here is a good example of single use plastic bags that they are sure to still have availablecomment imagecomment image

Dave

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!!

Latitude

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

Chris

Perhaps do your homework before posting? “An exception for drinking straws needed for medical reasons is expected to be included in the legislation.”
https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/948083/uk-news-plastic-pollution-britain-ban-drinking-straws-cotton-buds-stirrers-michael-gove

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.

Jim Cricket

Yes, like vaccines, they want you to use products that will cause you health problems.

Chris

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.

Greg

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?

Greg

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.

Steve Ta

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’

MarkW

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

Adam Gallon

Bin liners are what we used to use our old plastic shopping bags for.

slow burn

Still do round here.

Phoenix44

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.

Bryan A

I guess you could always use the plastic garbage bags as grocery bags.
I like the ironic fact that you can’t recycle plastic bagscomment image
And you can’t throw them away either

AWG

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.

beng135
Klem

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?

Bryan A

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.

mickgreenhough

see  
Mick G

rogerthesurf

“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

Ve2

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

WXcycles

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.

Auto

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 . . . .

Annie

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.

higley7

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.

BoyfromTottenham

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.

Yet the QLav endures.

Yirgach

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,

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.

Patrick Powers

Er, Brexit hasn’t happened yet… That will happen next year…

Dave Ward

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

slow burn

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)

Well, I think it will take more than a year to ratchet the pressure up enough anyway. Although I’m not there to gauge it for myself.

papiertigre

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.

Old England

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.

HotScot

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 🙂

commieBob

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

Phil Rae

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!!!

MarkW

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

Latitude

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

dmacleo

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.

Chris

“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.

Hugs

I’m gonna die. Not to plastic.
It’s just a new scare to push policy.

MarkW

The smaller the particle, the faster the bacteria eats it. Larger surface to mass ratio.
Perhaps if you bothered to learn something instead of just repeating the propaganda.

roger

Who told you that?

dmacleo

just say DERP! when leaving a comment.
its faster for you and more honest.

DonM

Chris,
why do you put it in the oceans in the first place?

Patrick MJD
Jer0me

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

bemused
bemused

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!

MarkG

Bemused, your post looks fine to me. I clicked on the link and bought the book :).

ghl

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?

Phil Rae

Hi Patrick!
Bacterium!

Pat McAdoo

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…

Ernest Bush

@ 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.

Gums

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….

Luc Ozade

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

tomwys1

Gotta quickly patent my wooden straw concept!!!

AussieBear

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.??

TA

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

gnomish

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.

Retired_Engineer_Jim

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.

comment image

Spuds

Classic!!!!!

quaesoveritas

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.

HotScot

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.

Dave S

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.

Phoenix44

They haven’t banned them but you have to pay now, so use has plummeted.

Russ Wood

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!

Russ Wood

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.

Retired_Engineer_Jim

Urghhh, “ban”, not “band”.

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.

Dave S

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

DC Cowboy

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

DonM

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.

quaesoveritas

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.

joelobryan

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.

HotScot

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

michel

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.

harrowsceptic

Michel
Well said

Doug

Agreed Michael

quaesoveritas

I agree.
The worst dog owners are those who bag it then hang it on a fence or tree, just to display it.

DonM

Nope, the worst dog owners are the ones that leave it on the ground, and then 15′ away lean their backs against the fence and leave their own crap.
Here in the northwest USA the politically correct term is “travelers”.

J Mac

Alright….What is a ‘cotton bud’?
A cotton plant sprout that just emerged from the soil????

papiertigre

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.

mynaturaldiary

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.

Old England

@ 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.

papiertigre

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.

HotScot

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.

AllyKat

People flush Q-tips????
I have never even heard of toddlers doing that.

Tom in Florida

“Alright….What is a ‘cotton bud’?”
It is a hair style seen in all Florida restaurants during the early bird dining hours.

michael hart

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.

emfamerica

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?

Ear picks, a type of curette.

Alan

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.

J Hope

I agree, Alan. Too many people = lots of rubbish, sadly.

HotScot

J Hope
How many people = too many people?

Hivemind

“How many people = too many people?”
Well, how many greens are there?

MarkW

Is the solution to ban anything that some people fail to dispose of properly?

Iain Reid

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?

Iain Reid

Apologies for the odd spelling in my comment, I can spell, I can’t type very well.

Jer0me

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

HotScot

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.

Ernest Bush

In the U.S. we refer to this as the tyranny of the minority.

HotScot

Ernest
Precisely what it is. Thank you.

Leo Smith

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.

HotScot

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.

Ron

“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.

Steve Keppel-Jones

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?” 🙂

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

michel

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.

HotScot

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

Gums

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…

dennisambler

“each Briton uses 675 straws each year. ”
I don’t use any, so who’s got mine?

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

AllyKat

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

AJB
Ve2

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

Evian =o= naivE

Sandy In Limousin

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?

Surprise finding in a study! Life Cycle Assesment of grocery carrier bags by Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark (Feb 2018). The first in list of final recommendation (page 18) is Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) bags.
https://www2.mst.dk/Udgiv/publications/2018/02/978-87-93614-73-4.pdf

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.

mynaturaldiary

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

mynaturaldiary

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…

Albert

I can’t believe I watched that.

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

michael hart

“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.

HotScot

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.

Phil Rae

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.

Jtom

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.

MarkG

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.

HotScot

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.

michael hart

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.

rogerthesurf

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

HotScot

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.

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!

rogerthesurf

If you don’t like the rubbish, one has to ask whether you make any personal efforts to clean it up?
Cheers
Roger
http://www.thedemiseofchristchurch.com

Jer0me

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

MarkW

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

rogerthesurf… up here in the north I’m doing my bit. Are you doing your bit down south?
https://www.scribbly-gum.com.au/balloons-and-straws-littering-our-world/

rogerthesurf

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…

drednicolson

I propose a heavy tax on proposing new taxes.

rogerthesurf

AnitaJH ,
Yup me too:)

michel

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.

GeeJam

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.

I believe it started in the Netherlands, which has few quarries or other suitable places for landfill.

GeeJam

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.

Phil Rae

Mud4fun
It’s not plastic “pollution”…..it’s litter!!! Dispose of it sensibly and it isn’t a problem!!!

J Hope

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.

MarkW

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.

Jtom

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

MarkW

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.

MarkG

“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.

roger

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.

Isn’t it something like 95% of all plastic pollution comes from 10 rivers, 8 in Asia and 2 in Africa? The Helmholtz centre in Leipzig did a study recently.

DonM

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.

M Courtney

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,

papiertigre

comment image
Look here.

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?

ironicman

Only ten rivers in the world produce this ocean pollution, Teresa May needs an education.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4970214/95-plastic-oceans-comes-just-TEN-rivers.html

Bob Long

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.

Jer0me

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.

GeeJam

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.

Warren Blair

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.

Chimp

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.

BillP

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.

J Mac

“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.

Chimp

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.

MarkW

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

Chimp

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.

drednicolson

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.

Ian Macdonald

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.

J Hope

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.

Jtom

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.

Russ Wood

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

Jeanparisot

I have never flushed a qtip, am I am doing it wrong?

Michael Carter

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

Fredar

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.

Chimp

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.

J Hope

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!

MarkW

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

AllyKat

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.

J Hope

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’??

BillP

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.

ivor ward

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?

Fredar

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.

Peta of Newark

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.

ozspeaksup

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.

Plastic stirrers? Hurumph! If the end of a biro was good enough for me to stir coffee with it should be good enough for wetherspoons patrons.
tonyb

Ed Zuiderwijk

Better ban plastic politicians like Gove.

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…..

Jtom

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.

Insanity alert: “…On Wednesday, lawmakers in Sacramento are set to debate legislation aimed at taking away Californians’ right to make choices about the energy they use in their homes and businesses. …” …http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/california-forum/article209189564.html

Gerry, England

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.

drednicolson

A choice of candidates, but not of platforms. Just the way the Lefties like it.

cynical1

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Wait until they ban condoms.

J Hope

‘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.

Robert of Ottawa

They had already banned toothbrushes 🙂

Robert of Ottawa

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.

Sara

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?

MrGrimNasty

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.

drednicolson

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

LearDog
DaveP

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.