Plastic use

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#2
Some excellent points raised in the article and well worth a few minutes to read in full.

I have a few comments and points to make:

1. The single use plastic production is clearly driven by major chemical companies and will be extremely hard to regulate out of existence. It is marketed as convenient, light, safe and sterile to the end users. We all know it is not that simple.
2. A better approach is consumer pressure on end retailers like the supermarkets.
3. Glass is almost 100% recyclable, safe and affordable. It should be no1 choice for all drinks and so on.
4. Single use plastic bags are horrible and I've not used one for years now. I bought maybe 4 or 5 aldi reusable bags over time and placed them in each car, in the kitchen, etc so always one is at hand. It cost me like £2 overall and they are far more reliable than the polluting alternative.
5. In the supermarkets everything (well nearly everything) is sold in some form of plastic packaging. Most of us would instantly agree that it is excessive and completely unnecessary in most cases, such as broccoli, apples, water multipack wraps, bananas in the bag, etc.
6. meat in many cases is excessively wrapped in styrene foam. It is even worse for fish that is almost invariably stinky and stale once opened. It is time to go back to butcher stalls and encourage customers to bring their glass tupperware (the idea being it will have to end up there by the end of the day anyway).
7. One hundred years ago people would go to shop in the markets and nobody was any worse without all this plastic.
8. An interesting observation - I was in Spain a couple of years ago and and all the beer bottles in the shop were clearly recycled and mixed between all the brands, just the new labels stuck on. Perhaps an overkill but makes you think about things!
9. True biodegradable plastics - i.e. cellulose based - have been in the research by the smaller companies and independent research groups at universities for quite a while. You just wonder why they are still not really on the market! We are back to #1.
 
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#3
Working at a wholesaler level in low cost, low margin, high turnover items we have to buy various bits in plastic for the simple reason that retailers won’t accept anything less, as customers want “perfect” items off the shelf for very little money.

If we look at any other method of packing/safe transport it typically costs more than the item in question...

I think the bigger cause is the consumer driven market we live in, that equates a constant cycle of purchasing and replacing tat before life expired to happiness (not completely innocent myself I hasten to add).
 
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3. Glass is almost 100% recyclable, safe and affordable. It should be no1 choice for all drinks and so on.
I was thinking about this the other day. Glass would be ideal if it wasn't (1) fragile and (2) heavy and it's mainly heavy because of 1 - you have to make a glass bottle pretty thick to match the robustness of a plastic one.

That means it costs a *lot* more to transport. Imagine for a moment all the pallets of bottled water being replaced by glass bottles. You'd get much less product in the same size lorry and it would use more fuel. This is why a couple of years ago people were pushing plastic as an environmentally friendly way to package things.

I think the simplest solution is to ban *single use* plastics. Or tax them into oblivion. The market will adapt and find a way.

Oh and I'd ban bottled water too. Just on principle really :)
 

StewartR

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#5
I haven't read the long article linked by the OP yet, but I will. In the meantime, a couple of quick observations:

8. An interesting observation - I was in Spain a couple of years ago and and all the beer bottles in the shop were clearly recycled and mixed between all the brands, just the new labels stuck on.
Did you mean to say re-used rather than recycled? It sounds like you did.

In Germany beer bottles are mostly collected and re-used, and there are two consequences of this which are quite obvious when you see lots of different beers in a supermarket. One is that the bottles are generic, and another is that the labels are fairly small, made of paper, and attached using easily removed glue. In the UK, beer bottles are often branded, by having distinctive shapes or the name of the brewery or the beer moulded into them, and the labels are often large glossy plastic things stuck on with superglue. Obviously the German system is totally geared up for re-use, and the British one isn't.

Oh and I'd ban bottled water too. Just on principle really :)
I understand your sentiment, though I think you might struggle to explain yourself to the people of Flint, Michigan. Well, technically you wouldnt have the opportunity to do so, since they would now all be dead, but you know what I mean.

‘Nothing to worry about. The water is fine’: how Flint poisoned its people
https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/jul/03/nothing-to-worry-about-the-water-is-fine-how-flint-michigan-poisoned-its-people
 
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#6
Interesting comments showing it is an issue that needs thinking about carefully. Plastic is so much part of our daily life that it will be difficult, but not, I think, with enough of a push, impossible to at least reduce its use substantially.

In the supermarkets everything (well nearly everything) is sold in some form of plastic packaging. Most of us would instantly agree that it is excessive and completely unnecessary in most cases, such as broccoli, apples, water multipack wraps, bananas in the bag, etc.
Very true, I think it is amusing, but only slightly as it is a serious issue, that if you want to avoid vegetables pre-packed in plastic, you can pick loose veg, but then the supermarket provides plastic bags for you to put it in. Many years ago when my Mum went shopping she took bag and most of the veg was weighed out and tipped straight into her bag. It was only the more delicate veg that was put in a separate bag, and that one was paper.

I think the simplest solution is to ban *single use* plastics. Or tax them into oblivion. The market will adapt and find a way.
. Agree.


Dave
 
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I understand your sentiment, though I think you might struggle to explain yourself to the people of Flint, Michigan. Well, technically you wouldnt have the opportunity to do so, since they would now all be dead, but you know what I mean.

‘Nothing to worry about. The water is fine’: how Flint poisoned its people
https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/jul/03/nothing-to-worry-about-the-water-is-fine-how-flint-michigan-poisoned-its-people
We are very lucky these days to have clean water on tap. Yes there are certain rare cases where there isn't safe clean drinking water and there is no alternative to bottled water but clearly this isn't the case almost everywhere, including all (?) of the UK. The point being that the endless single-use water bottles used unnecessarily is mind-boggling. I do think that there should be more provision of drinking fountains to refill bottles for when you're out and about.

You may already be aware of issues such as this but here is a counter example if you will of how drinking water companies go to an area and run riot:
https://www.pri.org/stories/2018-02-04/tiny-michigan-town-water-fight-nestle
 
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#8
We are very lucky these days to have clean water on tap. Yes there are certain rare cases where there isn't safe clean drinking water and there is no alternative to bottled water but clearly this isn't the case almost everywhere, including all (?) of the UK. The point being that the endless single-use water bottles used unnecessarily is mind-boggling. I do think that there should be more provision of drinking fountains to refill bottles for when you're out and about.

You may already be aware of issues such as this but here is a counter example if you will of how drinking water companies go to an area and run riot:
https://www.pri.org/stories/2018-02-04/tiny-michigan-town-water-fight-nestle
My current solution might be if interest. I live in Germany, where returnable bottles are the norm. And I used to buy crates of returnable, bottled soft drinks for the family, until we moved into a 4th floor apartment. As it was too heavy to lug around, I switched to Sodastream CO2 cylinders, to make fizzy water from tap water. Not only is it easier to carry, it's much cheaper, lasts longer, and the kids drink it all the time! No demands from them for cola or any sugary crap. It's just a shame that I end up promoting the fat cat Sodastream, as there isn't an easy choice of different CO2 providers. Or is there?
 
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Cobra

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#9
I switched to Sodastream CO2 cylinders,
Blimey there is a blast from the past, I remember that from my childhood, and that wasn't exactly "Yesterday" ;)
They must be doing something right if they are still going!
 
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#10
One of the major problems with plastic is that unlike glass (or tins) you don't get to make more plastic bottles out of old plastic bottles. Every time it's recycled the quality degrades and it has to be made into something else. It's like photocopying a photocopy, and then photocopying that photocopy...

If anyone's not yet seen A Plastic Ocean then I can highly recommend a watch. I saw it on Netflix and then bought the film as a way of donating to the cause.
 
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StewartR

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I was thinking about this the other day. Glass would be ideal if it wasn't (1) fragile and (2) heavy and it's mainly heavy because of 1 - you have to make a glass bottle pretty thick to match the robustness of a plastic one.

That means it costs a *lot* more to transport. Imagine for a moment all the pallets of bottled water being replaced by glass bottles. You'd get much less product in the same size lorry and it would use more fuel. This is why a couple of years ago people were pushing plastic as an environmentally friendly way to package things.
One issue that's easily overlooked is that environmental friendliness has various different dimensions, and they're not all mutually compatible. Single use plastic accumulates in the environment. Reusable glass requires energy to create and transport. Which is worse? I don't know and it's not very easy to find out.

Personally I'd say that increased energy consumption is probably the lesser of the two evils, because insofar as it contributes to climate change it's a problem that's already on the radar and is being tackled. (We basically know how to solve this; the only drawback is cost.) On the other hand plastics accumulating in the environment is a problem that doesn't have a known solution. But I'm painfully aware that this is an opinion based on little solid science.
 
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#12
Oh and I'd ban bottled water too. Just on principle really :)
You are free to drink that vile smelling chemical laden solution as much as you want however try to infringe upon my rights to the last remaining source of clean water and I will get extremely nasty.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

We are very lucky these days to have clean water on tap. Yes there are certain rare cases where there isn't safe clean drinking water and there is no alternative to bottled water but clearly this isn't the case almost everywhere, including all (?) of the UK. The point being that the endless single-use water bottles used unnecessarily is mind-boggling. I do think that there should be more provision of drinking fountains to refill bottles for when you're out and about.

You may already be aware of issues such as this but here is a counter example if you will of how drinking water companies go to an area and run riot:
https://www.pri.org/stories/2018-02-04/tiny-michigan-town-water-fight-nestle
If you live in the scottish highlands, Malverns or other hilly remote areas then sure you may be one of the few lucky ones to have clean water in the UK.

Most of you so called liberals would never read a real scientific study so here are just one snippet from your own propaganda mouthpiece tackling just one isolated issue (of which there are plenty more) https://www.salon.com/2013/03/14/your_tap_water_is_probably_laced_with_anti_depressants_partner/

But sure do keep drinking that because cancer and death are so loving.
 
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#13
Blimey there is a blast from the past, I remember that from my childhood, and that wasn't exactly "Yesterday" ;)
They must be doing something right if they are still going!
You might be thinking of the little Sparklets cylinders. (still going too) And not the big 45mm x 250mm Sodastream cylinders
Sodastream:

http://www.sodastream.co.uk who will go on forever as they have locked down the market.

Sparklets:
 
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Cobra

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I looked at Sodastream.

However, ignoring the cost of the machine (the cheapest on the Sodastream site is just under £46) the gas cylinders produce sparkling water at about 21p/litre. The cheapest sparkling water from Tesco is 8.5p/litre.

Dave
 
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I looked at Sodastream.

However, ignoring the cost of the machine (the cheapest on the Sodastream site is just under £46) the gas cylinders produce sparkling water at about 21p/litre. The cheapest sparkling water from Tesco is 8.5p/litre.

Dave
Ooh. I didn't pay that much for the machine. Maybe it was on offer. Anyway the cylinders work out at 10p/litre. (Refills cost 8€ for 60l)
But perhaps importantly maybe there is an alternative company that is not Sodastream.
 

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#17
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One issue that's easily overlooked is that environmental friendliness has various different dimensions, and they're not all mutually compatible. Single use plastic accumulates in the environment. Reusable glass requires energy to create and transport. Which is worse? I don't know and it's not very easy to find out.

Personally I'd say that increased energy consumption is probably the lesser of the two evils, because insofar as it contributes to climate change it's a problem that's already on the radar and is being tackled. (We basically know how to solve this; the only drawback is cost.) On the other hand plastics accumulating in the environment is a problem that doesn't have a known solution. But I'm painfully aware that this is an opinion based on little solid science.
Yeah - I think I probably agree with you.

I was shocked when FoE pointed out that it was *better* for the environment for me to each Spanish tomatoes than Kentish ones (short version: shipping them produces less pollution than heating a polytunnel). Like you say it's complicated.

You are free to drink that vile smelling chemical laden solution as much as you want however try to infringe upon my rights to the last remaining source of clean water and I will get extremely nasty.
Most (as in >50% IIRC quite a lot >) bottled water in the US is actually tap water. When DelBoy did that, people laughed. When Coca Cola did it they bought it.
 
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#19
Most (as in >50% IIRC quite a lot >) bottled water in the US is actually tap water. When DelBoy did that, people laughed. When Coca Cola did it they bought it.
if it is properly filtered to remove all the drug residues, heavy metals, and fluoride then that's absolutely fine. I'm sure most are. Not a single bottle tasted of bleach as far as I can remember so they must be filtered.

You may be lucky enough to have a high end water filters installed at home in which case you are OK if it ticks all the boxes, while avoiding cross-contamination with aluminium. These typically cost hundreds for decent lower end kit. The likes of Brita are total waste of time and money.
 

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#20
Most of you so called liberals would never read a real scientific study so here are just one snippet from your own propaganda mouthpiece tackling just one isolated issue (of which there are plenty more) https://www.salon.com/2013/03/14/your_tap_water_is_probably_laced_with_anti_depressants_partner/
Wow! but do you actually know what a scientific study is? I.e. peer reviewed and published in a recognised journal?

So this is an authoritative summary but not a scientific study
http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/diseases-risks/risks/info_sheet_pharmaceuticals/en/
It concludes
Currently, analysis of the available data indicates that there is a substantial margin of safety between the very low concentrations of pharmaceuticals that would be consumed in drinking-water and the minimum therapeutic doses, which suggests a very low risk to human health
This is a link to a scientific study, like many of these you would have to pay to see the full article.
https://www.cell.com/trends/biotechnology/fulltext/S0167-7799(05)00047-8?_returnURL=https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0167779905000478?showall=true

BTW I am a full-on balls-out liberal, who votes liberal at general elections, not just "so called". And I not only do I know what a scientific study looks like, I read plenty of them (y)
 
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sirch

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BTW what about all that p***? Human p***, sheep p***, cow p***, dog p***, cat p***, rat p***? There must be far more of that than residual pharmaceuticals in the water, think about it, for every 1 microgram of drug that you are worried about there must be hundreds of times that volume of p*** to worry about...
 
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Wow! but do you actually know what a scientific study is? I.e. peer reviewed and published in a recognised journal?

So this is an authoritative summary but not a scientific study
http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/diseases-risks/risks/info_sheet_pharmaceuticals/en/
It concludes


This is a link to a scientific study, like many of these you would have to pay to see the full article.
https://www.cell.com/trends/biotechnology/fulltext/S0167-7799(05)00047-8?_returnURL=https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0167779905000478?showall=true

BTW I am a full-on balls-out liberal, who votes liberal at general elections, not just "so called". And I not only do I know what a scientific study looks like, I read plenty of them (y)
If I hadn't wasted years getting Chemistry PhD you could probably talk me down like that. Sadly not going to happen.

Just because someone said 'safe levels' or approved for human use doesn't mean that it actually is. You should remember the prime example thalidomide and I don't need to tell the rest. You can fool yourself that a little bit of hydrofluorosilicic acid, glyphosate, bisphenol-A, prozac, traces of polymerisation initiators and catalysts are all tasty and healthy. MSDS files are available they are not pretty in most cases. It is your health and your choice to poison yourself but from liberal point of view you should be happy with others being aware and free to take care of their own and their children health.

P.S. modern day "liberalism" has very little in common with true historic liberal ideas, just like DPRK and democracy. Hence the "so-called" bit :)
 
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BTW what about all that p***? Human p***, sheep p***, cow p***, dog p***, cat p***, rat p***? There must be far more of that than residual pharmaceuticals in the water, think about it, for every 1 microgram of drug that you are worried about there must be hundreds of times that volume of p*** to worry about...
That's precisely how you get antibiotics and anti-depressants amongst others in the recycled water supplies. You even get dead sheep floating in the rivers and reservoirs. All they do is chuck some bleach or closely related alternative to kill the most harmful of bacteria. It sure produces a lovely cocktail. Cheers!
 
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#26
Plastics are a big problem in the UK, especially in Scotland. Very few outlets for further processing/recycling so they end up in landfill despite the criminal lft rates. Zero Waste Scotland? Beyond impossible. A ridiculous objective especially considering how difficult it is to go down the rdf route in Scotland.

All the pressure is put on recycling companies to deal with the waste, but it's near impossible for them to do so both physically and financially. The focus should be redirected to the manufacturing and packaging companies.

Plasterboard is another problem.
 
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#27
If I hadn't wasted years getting Chemistry PhD you could probably talk me down like that. Sadly not going to happen.

Just because someone said 'safe levels' or approved for human use doesn't mean that it actually is. You should remember the prime example thalidomide and I don't need to tell the rest. You can fool yourself that a little bit of hydrofluorosilicic acid, glyphosate, bisphenol-A, prozac, traces of polymerisation initiators and catalysts are all tasty and healthy. MSDS files are available they are not pretty in most cases. It is your health and your choice to poison yourself but from liberal point of view you should be happy with others being aware and free to take care of their own and their children health.

P.S. modern day "liberalism" has very little in common with true historic liberal ideas, just like DPRK and democracy. Hence the "so-called" bit :)
How do you block people on this forum? Honestly getting fed up of aggressive, antagonistic posts and posters that are completely unnecessary.
 
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Also see the microplastics thread in hot topics.

I wouldn't class bottled water as particularly safe from plastic originating contamination.

I'll quote my opening post from the thread...

So the issue of micro plastics is gaining more of a spotlight, with a recent study showing that 83% of worldwide drinking water contained micro plastic fibres.

The problem is that plastic never really degrades, it just breaks down into smaller and smaller parts. For example your car tyres put out plastic dust into the air, washing synthetic fabrics releases fibres into the water, plastic bottles in the seas and rivers again enter the water courses.

These fibres are then inhaled or enter the water and food chains (either directly or via consuming other plants/animals).

It's only a bit of plastic most will probably say, however plastic is very good at absorbing toxic substances. One type of plastic HDPE (used in milk, juice and water cartons) for example is particularly good at leeching estrogen imitating chemicals, known to cause breast and testicular cancer*, poor sperm quality and malformed reproductive tract (to name a few).

*"Incidence rates for testicular cancer are projected to rise by 12% in the UK between 2014 and 2035, to 10 cases per 100,000 males by 2035. 1 in 195 men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer during their lifetime." / "breast cancer incidence [invasive] rates have increased by less than a tenth (3%) in the UK, though this includes an increase in females (5%) and stable rates in males." / "Over the last decade, in situ breast carcinoma incidence rates in females have increased by two fifths (40%) in the UK" - Cancer Research UK

A reasonably lengthy article (with pretty pictures and videos), but worth a read..

https://orbmedia.org/stories/Invisibles_plastics

Personally I think this could be a pretty serious health and environmental issue if left unchecked. With our use of plastic increasing, and [as one of the videos above says] with untested plastics/chemicals being registered daily more needs to be done to regulate materials and research the impact on health.

So what do you think? (I'd appreciate a thought out response rather than just a "don't care" or "never done me any harm" etc stock response, ta)
 
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