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Plastic – what's the problem?

30/11/2020 – by Kay Hodson

Viewed as a wondrous new invention when it was first made, although scientific evidence now shows it as a planet destroyer.

To think that every piece of plastic you have ever consumed still exists. The crisp packet you ate from today; the tonic bottle from last night's G&T; the toothbrush you used last week; the plastic bag of oats you bought two months ago; the clingfilm you wrapped your sandwich in last year; the packaging from the sausages you picked in the supermarket five years ago; the shampoo bottle you used ten years ago.

Perhaps your recycling bin is full to the top every fortnight, so what is the problem?

Every time plastic is recycled, the polymer chain grows shorter, so the quality decreases.
The same piece of plastic can only be recycled 2-3 times before its quality decreases to the point where it can no longer be used. Additionally, each time plastic is recycled, additional new plastic is added to help “upgrade” its quality.

Whilst plastic bags on the other hand take 85% more energy to recycle than to generate a brand new bag. Then also consider, only 2% of plastic bags reach the recycling stream.

Perhaps you're thinking that as a single person "I cannot make a difference".

If everyone in Audlem switched to a solid shampoo bar, we can remove 5000 shampoo bottles from the waste stream each year at a conservative estimate. Then consider other possibilities such as solid conditioner, soap, facial cleansing or shaving bars, and the impact of you – that one person – is staggering.

Perhaps you've already begun your plastic journey. You have saved that crisp packet for recycling right here in Audlem; you are buying your tonic in cans now; you have sourced oats in a paper bag or a refill shop; you have switched to a bamboo toothbrush; you've started using a beeswax wrap or equivalent for your sandwiches; you try to remember that container for Oxtail&Trotter's sausages; you have bought a solid shampoo bar from Williams of Audlem to try next.

Perhaps reading this has started your journey.Perhaps, you have ideas to share through the ACER website, to help others on their journey.

Help Audlem in the fight against climate change.

Make a better future for our children.

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