Changing our attitude to plastic.

DeclanDublin

Frequent Poster
We are literally drowning in a sea of plastic waste, causing untold damage to the planet, and ultimately endangering our own survival. I am wondering how to take more personal responsibility to change my own behaviour by actively trying to limit the amount of plastic I use and it ain't easy.

I was in Tesco's (tho it could be any supermarket) and the bags for the bread rolls are all plastic. No option for paper ones. Likewise for loose veg. And apples, mushrooms, turkey slices, all come in (mostly) unrecyclable plastic. I've emailed Tesco to ask them to look at it, but wondering what, if anything, other people are doing or considering doing about this problem?
 

dub_nerd

Frequent Poster
Probably not a solution to your problem unless it happens to suit, but have you looked at Tesco home delivery? It all come without bags except for loose veg items which are in paper bags. Nary a plastic bag in sight, and the bulk delivery by van saves tailpipe emissions as well.
 

Nordkapp

Frequent Poster
Always say to missus to buy meat in aluminium trays rather than plastic. Apples and eggs in cardboard trays. We use reusable bags but have boxes as well. If I could get the family off plastic bottled water it would be great :)
 

odyssey06

Frequent Poster
What's the issue with citizens who use a plastic bottle and putting it into a green bin to be ultimately recycled??? How does that lead to a sea of plastic waste?

How are your little plastic bags from Tesco ending up in the sea if you didn't put them there?

Maybe we should just start shooting people who dump their bottles and other plastic.
 
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mathepac

Frequent Poster
If we didn't use plastic containers

a) they wouldn't have to be produced
b) they wouldn't have to be recycled

LIDL's sliced meats, cheeses, ready meals, raw meats, milk, cream, water, etc all come adorned in plastic as do the lids on their coffee & drinking chocolate jars and the nets for oranges, clementines etc. They are probably no better and no worse than other multiples in that regard. SuperValu also offers paper bags for own-brand bread and scones etc. Even the cook-in aluminium containers are sealed with plastic that I can almost guarantee won't go in the recycle bin as it'll need to be washed first.

The answer? Buy fresh food sourced locally in smaller quantities using our own reusable glass, cardboard or metal containers. Or continue buying the convenience foods sourced from the multiples and drown in plastic and binned unused food.
 

DeclanDublin

Frequent Poster
Plastic bags are out for recycling, and undoubtedly plastic (like) containers are very useful, so I think we need to come up with biodegradable 'plastics' as part of a collective approach to the problem. The truth, inconvenient or not, is that by 2050 there's likely to be more plastic than fish in the oceans by weight.https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/01/20/by-2050-there-will-be-more-plastic-than-fish-in-the-worlds-oceans-study-says/?utm_term=.6ab06fe1e88b

And a particular problem is microbeads of plastic, which fish are absorbing. Fact is unless we turn our minds to solving this problem we threaten the future of the earth itself, so self-interest alone should garner our attention. I'm actually making a point of asking shops for paper bags where possible, and I also intend to maybe bring a bread bag back to the likes of Tesco to use again. It's a conundrum that can be solved I think, just like we faced down the AID's crisis with some clever science. We need solutions that act in harmony with the planet, but the oil industry, which feeds plastic into society isn't going to vote for its own demise, so we I think it needs to be aired in the public space thus forcing politicians to act.
 
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Sol28

Frequent Poster
What's the issue with citizens who use a plastic bottle and putting it into a green bin to be ultimately recycled??? How does that lead to a sea of plastic waste?

How are your little plastic bags from Tesco ending up in the sea if you didn't put them there?

Maybe we should just start shooting people who dump their bottles and other plastic.
Unfortunately even those of us who are still plastic aware are also contributing to the problem. Plastic bags cannot be recycled currently - they clog up the machinery - so they get dumped to landfill - and of course some of that will escape into the wild. Recyclable plastics are being exported to the far east and at the moment - they have shut down on what they will take. And if the products are contaminated with rubbish (which happens too easily) they cannot be recycled - and are being dumped in the far east.

I use way too much plastic myself. And the way food is packaged does not help. - "Reduce" then "Reuse" should be the first two options - long before "Recycle"!
 

Buddyboy

Frequent Poster
I get salads (for lunch) from Loving Salads in Cork. All their tubs are made from plants, and are 100% compostable. One of the reasons I use them (as well as their salads are gorgeous.)
 

odyssey06

Frequent Poster
Unfortunately even those of us who are still plastic aware are also contributing to the problem. Plastic bags cannot be recycled currently - they clog up the machinery - so they get dumped to landfill - and of course some of that will escape into the wild. Recyclable plastics are being exported to the far east and at the moment - they have shut down on what they will take. And if the products are contaminated with rubbish (which happens too easily) they cannot be recycled - and are being dumped in the far east. I use way too much plastic myself. And the way food is packaged does not help. - "Reduce" then "Reuse" should be the first two options - long before "Recycle"!
Going forwards, I presume they don't go to landfill though they end up in Poolbeg incinerator or similar, rather than Dublin Bay?

Is it just plastics that are affected by issues in the far east? Or all recyclables?
Even if let's say the EU builds a recyclying base in Poland, we would still have the same issue even with cardboard packaging if it is contaminated? It sounds like the core issue there is contamination not plastic v cardboard.

So is the issue in terms of volume of waste to be disposed of - assuming people are using proper waste disposal and not just chucking the stuff - is really about "once off use" packaging rather than plastic versus other forms?

But I'm still not seeing the connection between the plastic bottle in my green bin, or plastic bag in my black bin, picked up by Greyhound or Panda or CityBins ... and oceans overwhelmed by plastic.
 

Sol28

Frequent Poster
The reason that a new list of recyclables has been issued is that soft recyclable plastics (eg plastic bags, wrappers etc.) are not being purchased by China etc. We are hitting our recyclable limits - once we export it - even if they are not actually being recycled abroad due to contamination. its hitting the UK as well - basically we feel good by shipping it away - but we are drowning the East in our rubbish, even if they are not able to recycle it.

Plastic lives on for decades\centuries - once its out of your hand - you cant guarantee that it wont blow away, fall off the back of the truck or get washed into a river\sea. Even burning it just distributes the emissions into the environment. France is banning the use of single use plastic cutlery/plates,cups etc - we really need to do the same. You might be diligent in ensuring it gets put into the right bin - but it still has to be transported, separated, processed and transported on again. As a society - we have to cut down on the amount produced, reuse the remaining items that are produced and finally recycle them at the end of their life cycle.

As a kayaker - i see how much plastic rubbish is alongside our waterways. it is awful - and thats only the macro pieces - I cant see the amount of micro plastics that are ending up in our food sources - and indeed in us. I have done numerous river cleanups - and plastic is the main component of the rubbish i have collected.
 

Leper

Frequent Poster
While we recycle most of our household use at home and are eco savvy for the large part. But, I think the country has gone mad on the plastic issue. We are using far less plastic now than we did say 20 years ago when you got a plastic supermarket bag for nearly every two products purchased. The country didn't suddenly get plastic friendly; it was that we had to pay for the plastic bags which reduced their use. It was another form of taxation. Nowadays, most use reusable shopping bags or boxes.

I see Cork people paying good money for Tipperary water in plastic bottles. The water was in the ground for thousands of years but yet it's best before 1st December 2020 according to its plastic cap, like on that date the quality of the water was going to immediately poison the entire population.

We're back from a couple of weeks in Asia. Pollution is so bad there even normal people wear masks filtering their body air intake. There's more waste in these countries to make Ireland's waste negligible in comparison.

So, now we want to use only paper bags paper cups, etc. Plastic coffee cups have now become a fashion accessory. Who would be seen without one? Even the HSE has abandoned single use plastic cups, straws etc. I feel the whole country has been duped into believing that we are amongst the most dreadful people for pollution. Whichever way we turn the products are going to be dearer as a result.

I believe we have to educate ourselves into not throwing anything into our rivers or the sea. Our countryside suffers from fly-tippers. Parts of Cork would leave parts of Calcutta looking like a pristine operating theatre. Our streets are plentiful with waste of all descriptions. I see cigarette boxes being discarded carelessly every hour of every day, bus tickets left on seats etc. We are a nation that endures filth every day and everywhere and know there's no point in saying anything. Try correcting the guy who has just flung his empty fag box on the footpath and he'll lecture you on what you don't need to hear.

Our love of filth will take at least a generation to clear. We can lecture the guilty ones, we can lead by good example. But, our purveyors of filth just don't want to know.
 

michaelm

Frequent Poster
Always good to educate regarding reduce, reuse and recycle but we shouldn't beat ourselves up too much about plastic. Just ten rivers - two in Africa and eight in Asia - deliver 90% of the plastic into the world's oceans according to this. There needs to be a plan to tackle that. The vast swirls of plastic collecting in multiple locations in the oceans could be tackled also if there was the will to do it. This lad's plan(TED talk) may have merit in that regard.
 
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Leo

Moderator
We are using far less plastic now than we did say 20 years ago
If that were true, production wouldn't have more than doubled in those 20 years.

We're back from a couple of weeks in Asia. Pollution is so bad there even normal people wear masks filtering their body air intake. There's more waste in these countries to make Ireland's waste negligible in comparison.
...
Our countryside suffers from fly-tippers. Parts of Cork would leave parts of Calcutta looking like a pristine operating theatre. Our streets are plentiful with waste of all descriptions.
Bit of a contradiction there.

I feel the whole country has been duped into believing that we are amongst the most dreadful people for pollution. Whichever way we turn the products are going to be dearer as a result.
I don't think there are many that hold that view, I've never sen that suggested in any of the coverage. People are becoming aware that plastic, particularly single use plastics are problematic but there's no witch hunt.
 

DeeKie

Frequent Poster
This thread shows how horrifically complacent some people are about plastic. It’s not a fashion statement to do something about this. We all have responsibilities to make changes. People just don’t want to as they are too lazy and have gotten used to a disposable lifestyle.
 

Peanuts20

Registered User
Got the Guardian at the weekend and the magazines which like most newspapers are in a plastic bag but this time the bag was marked as fully compostible. Credit where credit is due.

Simplest thing to do to reduce your plastic footprint is to buy a reusable water bottle and unless there is a boil notice in your area, fill from your tap. I've started doing that recently after I threw out 4 or 5 empty bottles that had collected in the car
 

Purple

Frequent Poster
Got the Guardian at the weekend and the magazines which like most newspapers are in a plastic bag but this time the bag was marked as fully compostible. Credit where credit is due.
I read the Guardian online. That saves even more resources!
It's a bit predictable though, isn't it, the Guardian using compostable plastic.
 
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