The Weekly Advertiser

EDITORIAL: Plastic bags a good start

Dean Lawson editorial 2 2017

As I awoke one morning, it was great to hear further news that supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths would stop providing free soft plastic shopping bags to customers by the end of the year.
Yes, the news was encouraging as I threw the soft plastic wrapper from the bread I was about to toast into the bin.
The news was still providing a sense of worth as I removed the plastic wrap from the cover of my new tea-bag box, removed another section of soft plastic from my individual tea bag, binned both and put on the kettle.
Ah yes! Great news, I thought again as I reached into the fridge for a slice of cheese to place on my toast, unwrapped and binned the soft plastic film surrounding the morsel in the process.
Again I pondered how great it would be for the environment now that supermarkets no longer supplied soft plastic bags.
The thought was still in place as my wife started preparing our child’s school lunch box.
Some fruit, extracted from a plastic container covered with a film of soft plastic quickly dispatched to the bin, a sandwich with the rest of the cold meat that had been in a disposable plastic bag that was now also in the bin, and some snacks, self-contained in two layers of – yep, you guessed it – soft plastic and destined for the bin at school.
Still, there was still a feeling of satisfaction that we were making headway in the war against petroleum plastic.
Before I left for work, I thought I had better have a quick look at some of the publications that had arrived in the mail. I couldn’t read anything until I removed and binned the soft plastic jackets enclosing the material.
One of the stories from the publications featured details of… err… the benefits of more supermarkets no longer providing soft plastic bags.
It was still sounding like a good idea, considering how many plastic shopping bags and residual plastics were making their way into the environment and the global food chain.
But I was feeling less confident after a final look at the contents of the household bin, made up of 70 percent of soft plastics other than shopping bags, while a bin for hard readily recyclable products outside, like every week, was almost overflowing.
Make no mistake, the worldwide issue of plastic waste, waste in general and its impact on the environment is considerable. Wander through any shopping centre, in particular supermarkets, and take note of the quantity of soft plastic in use. It is everywhere.
While it is a major step in the right direction, it will now take much more than removing plastic shopping bags from the consumer conveyer belt to remedy a rapidly growing problem.
It seems inevitable that stronger government control will ultimately be essential.
Hopefully, it won’t be too late when hard decisions finally come.
We can recycle soft plastic into a variety of outdoor products, such as Melbourne recycling organisation organisation RED Group and manufacturer Replas has proved through the REDcycle program.
But while this is productive and ingenious, we suspect this makes only the slightest of dents in what is an almost unimaginable stockpile.

The entire July 26, 2017 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

Short URL: http://www.theweeklyadvertiser.com.au/?p=46504

Posted on Jul 26 2017

Posted by on Jul 26 2017. Filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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