So that’s it; this year’s Conservative Conference is over and for me a significant issue passed almost unnoticed.
While the pranksters P45 security breach as the Prime minister was speaking yesterday will be talked about for ages, and Boris and his British Lion roars speech was considered the best of the week with loads of media interest and cheers from the conference floor, Michael Gove earlier in the week just touched on an issue with real long term environmental implications.
We are constantly bombarded with concerns over global warming, or climate change as it is more likely to be called now by politicians, the scientific community and particularly the media. I find so many reporters in the UK see most of our problems being down to the human influence on climate or Brexit! Our carbon foot print is flagged up so often now that I find myself checking the soles of my shoes!
One environmental issue that does not get a huge amount of publicity but I feel is storing up big issues for future generations is the volume of plastic used in packaging and carelessly disposed of with the potential to never biodegrade. The waste plastic in our oceans is measured in millions of tonnes causing serious harm to our marine biostructure. Just take a minute to visit the website https://www.plasticoceans.org/ to see the scale of the problem that continues to grow rapidly year on year.
Michael Gove as Environment Secretary raised the issue of plastic bottles at Conference and is inviting views on how a possible reward and return recycling scheme could be developed. Apparently Coca Cola and Greenpeace are backing the idea. My view for some time has been to either provide solutions that reduce the demand for plastic bottles’ hence our range of direct cool water coolers to help break the habit of buying bottled water measured in the millions a week in the UK. But the biggest change we could make is to the actual materials used to make our plastic packaging in the first place.
Rather than continuing with oil based polymer plastics that potentially will take forever to degrade why not push on with Hemp plastic made from the Cannabis Sativa plant, which can be fully biodegradable and is produced from a grown and cropped farmed resource. Bio based plastics have a small but growing market share mainly in the auto industry as plastic panels from Hemp as a raw material is stronger and more rigid than polymer based ones. Hemp plastic is 100% recyclable and most importantly can be made 100% biodegradable so any that gets discarded will just decompose rather than blighting the landscape and oceans. http://www.hempplastic.com
We have some way to go with hemp plastic production below 1million tonnes a year whilst Polypropylene and Polyethylene use is in excess of 130 million tonnes annually, but rather than clever recycling and deposit schemes on polymer base packaging, tax breaks for Hemp plastic production and use with levies on other types makes far more sense to me Michael Gove.
Written by: Colin from KSV.