Latest in the series of Rethink Plastic blogs by Liz Longden:
Plastic news gets better – more people talking , thinking and acting, and plastic news gets worse – more and more plastic being found polluting the world, even in the most remote and uninhabited parts of our planet.
There is still so much we don’t know about the way this plastic is getting into the waterways and oceans. I don’t think we know yet how long there has been such widespread contamination, and we certainly know very little about the long term effect on human, animal and plant health.
Because of this, I always feel a little wary of embracing any of the myriad ideas you see on social media about ways to reuse plastic either before or after it has been through a recycling process.
For instance, plastic roads. Would they not produce plastic dust from the wear and tear of the passage of traffic? I don’t know, I am not a scientist, but it would comfort me to find out that this has been looked into before we start laying down roads left right and centre. So often mankind produces a solution to a problem without thinking it through, and it becomes just as big a problem. That’s how we got in this mess in the first place, isn’t it?
We have some ‘thinking though’ to do in respect of how we manage the several events every year when large amounts of street food are sold and consumed. We thought that it was an obvious move to say ‘no plastic’ to all the traders who wanted to have food stalls at these events. However after a lot of research into alternatives it appears that, as I write, there are no viable alternatives that we can use here and now. Nothing is as straightforward as it first seems, and products advertised as ‘compostable’ , will not break down in the system used by High Peak’s contractors. If we had gone ahead and asked for the food traders to only use these type of products, they would have had to go into landfill, where they would decompose and produce methane, which is a powerful green house gas. We may have to shift our focus completely onto making sure the maximum plastic gets recycled, at least for the present time.
All this is intensely frustrating, but still I think it is really important that we do no harm whilst trying to do good. So, slowly, slowly, and get it right. Patience.