Non-plastic picnicking

  • Chris Jeavans
  • 18 Aug 08, 12:16 PM GMT

Avoiding plastic is all very well when it just impacts on my own choices but trying to keep it up in company is more difficult.

Some friends organised a picnic on Saturday which was lovely - we even had sunny weather.

I had made sure that the food we contributed was plastic-free: two pizzas from a bakery, paper bags of cherries and tomatoes, a wax-wrapped cheese and drinks in glass bottles.

But I fell down on the receptacles: I forgot to bring any cups and our hosts had plastic disposable ones. I didn't even realise what I was doing until half way through the first "glass" and I wasn't going to be so churlish as to protest.

picnic203.jpgEveryone had metal cutlery and paper plates so we were "safe" on that score.

There are, however, many other non-plastic options for disposable tableware.

Plates can be made from bamboo, cassava starch, reed starch or bagasse - the waste fibre from pressing sugar cane.

Wooden cutlery is available as well as bio-plastic versions made from corn or potato starch mixed with vegetable oil.

The manufacturers claim that their products are compostable or biodegradable under the right conditions.

However, as with all biodegradable products, the challenge is ensuring they end up in a composter (whether home or large scale) or anaerobic digester rather than landfill.

When biodegradable matter breaks down in the low oxygen environment of a landfill site it creates the powerful greenhouse gas, methane.

Some of the methane is captured by a system of pipes and can be used as fuel but the rest escapes into the air.

Latest government estimates (2007 provisional) put the amount of methane emissions from UK landfill at 0.96 million tonnes, 41% of the UK total of 2.3 million tonnes.

In an anaerobic digester the same biodegradation process occurs but because it is a closed unit, all the biogas (methane and carbon dioxide) can be trapped and used for energy.

Composting works aerobically and so does not create methane.

But Friends of the Earth's senior waste campaigner Mike Warhurst warns against assuming that just because something is bio-degradable it's "greener".

"I'm seeing a lot of confusion happening where people are using disposable items and then implying that they're good because they're biodegradable.

"Whatever it is it required energy to make it. So if you're in a café, you're far better off having a cup which is washed up than having so-called biodegradable cups.

"There's not much point in stuff being biodegradable if it goes in your normal rubbish bin and ends up in landfill or in an incinerator."

Which is also where that non-biodegradable plastic cup I used at the picnic is destined.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Why need anything you take on a picnic be disposable anyway?

    You must have had transport to get to the picnic site, so carrying your stuff back with you should not be an issue.

    You can buy fully-reusable picnic sets with metal cutlery, plastic glasses and melamine plates.

  • Comment number 2.

    Sorry Chris, the paper plates were "Safe"? Trees were felled for them.
    Why are you looking for "disposable tableware" anyway?

    They just go into landfill! A decent plastic or metal camping plate would heve much been better as you can re-use it. Ditto With re-usable plastic mugs or "glasses".

    I guess you have never been camping? I've had some of my stuff for over ten years, this is better than throwing things away each time.

    I support what you are doing, but the "All plastic wrong, everything else good" mantra is just ludicrous.


  • Comment number 3.

    Some years ago my inlaws bought my husband and I a picnic set - a lovely rucksack that came with four plastic plates, two knives, two forks, two spoons, a butter knife, a small chopping board, a corkscrew, two plastic wine glasses and three tupperware containers. Since then we've been on innumerable picnics and we're still using the same kit. No need for disposable anything at all!

  • Comment number 4.

    Hi Chris,

    Non-Plastic Picnicking follows the trend of your topical blog. Waste-Free Picnicking is a more realistic goal. In this type plastic will play a part: containers, plates, cups etc.
    All these items are reused and not part of the Use Once and Throw Away stuff which adds to landfill.

    Any food waste should be taken home to be composted/fed to pets,birds/Bokashied.

  • Comment number 5.

    Good morning!

    Another option may have been to embrace your new plastic cup: take it home and re-use it.

    In addition to being re-used as, well, drinking cups, plastic cups can be a home for seeds that need to be started, a holder for small bits and pieces or craft supplies, a water-cup for icky paint brushes, or even the upper portion of a terrarium (if large enough).

    Best of luck to you, Chris!

  • Comment number 6.

    Congratulations Chris, you are doing so well. It is hard to anticipate every contingency but we learn as we go on.

    I want to share this. I do not consider all plastic to be bad just how we use/reuse it. However, sometimes things are way over packaged. I needed a mist bottle for my garden seedlings (my glass one got broken)so I thought to buy a large plastic one which could be used indefinitely. At my garden store, the plastic mist bottle was packaged inside of a plastic bag! WHY? This is ridiculous over- packaging. I didn't buy the bottle, as my awareness has been raised on this site about how much unnecessary plastic we can reduce.

  • Comment number 7.

    Note to Johnhcrf

    I think we went under 90% this week toward Zero Waste!

    However, I don't know if I can sustain that. My garden is producing very well, so I am not having to shop much. Less waste!

  • Comment number 8.


    Well done! Refuse over-packaging every time.

    Under 90% is an excellent figure. Others will take heart from this since low waste figures can be achieved by anyone prepared to take up the challenge.

    Do you have alternative markets where you can use home containers for your purchases? This would remove packaging altogether.

  • Comment number 9.


    Thanks, I do have alternate markets where I take my own containers. Here in the US we are so 'safety conscious' ,to a ridiculous degree in my opinion, that you might buy a glass jar of something, open the lid and find a plastic film sealing the top. Many food jars are also sealed with plastic film over the outside lid. I can't recycle this kind of plastic and I also cannot eliminate all of these products so that is where some of my waste occurs.

    It seems as though nearly everything is packaged in some kind of plastic bag, as my example of the mist bottle. The awareness I have gotten here regarding unnecessary plastic is really helping me to reduce my waste even more.

  • Comment number 10.

    I will add that I spoke (nicely) to the garden store manager, explaining why I would not buy the mist bottle and suggesting that as a 'green' enterprise, he should reconsider his supplier of mist bottles.

  • Comment number 11.

    I read some of the previous posts from folks who have limited resources and I want to say that it is very possible to be 'green' without spending a lot of time and money. In fact, sometimes being green is cheaper than not.

    For example, you do not have to purchase expensive green products for cleaning. White vinegar, baking soda, salt, rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide are very inexpensive and will clean and disinfect nearly anything. I've been using these things for years.

  • Comment number 12.


    Speaking to staff/managers is essential. Most staff I come across do not have the slightest idea what Zero Waste is. All you can do is fully explain why you want your purchases to be unpackaged and thank them for their cooperation.

    I always enjoy emptying my bag back home and having nothing left but an empty bag. True Zero Waste.

  • Comment number 13.


    I agree that YOU may have Zero Waste at your house but what happens to the packaging that you have left behind?

    You are making an important statement about reducing unnecessary packaging. I think that we should all be doing that but we also need to think about the packaging that we leave behind us.

    In my area, most people are very understanding that I want to reduce waste so I have not encountered the problem you mentioned. The manager of my garden store expressed dismay that he had not considered this issue. I think that (kindly) raising awareness can be one of the most important things an individual can do toward reducing waste.

  • Comment number 14.

    I've just sat through a repeat programme with Richard Dawkins prattling on about how great science is. WILL ALL THE CLEVER PEOPLE JUST TELL US WHAT TO DO TO SAVE THE PLANET! Sorry that is a childish seeming rant, but I'm desperate!

  • Comment number 15.

    Really enjoying your blog across the pond over here! I'm curious though why not try tiffins? They do it all the time in India. Many still do not have a plastic seal and come with a handy dandy spoon! As for the drinking cup situation, there are paper folded cups that one could find at a travel store. Sort of more for to take a pill. But at least something.

  • Comment number 16.

    Wooden cutlery - Nooooo! Think of all the trees! Japan uses up many trees on wooden chopsticks - don't add to this problem!

  • Comment number 17.

    I have a daughter who is profoundly autistic and has a number of food obsessions and will only eat certain foods,even down to the brand or colour of crisp packets.
    I have tried everything to stop this but to no avail so we are left with mounds of crisp packets and plastic waste that our local council does not recycle.
    A few years ago I joined a campaign whereby were returned overly large used crisp packets to the manufacturers and the result of the campaign was a reduction in the size of the crisp packets.
    I recycle as much as I can but I honestly feel that the ultimate answer is government action on the situation. I also feel that a countrywide campaign to return packaging that we can not recycle to the manufacturer will make the manufacturers more aware of public feeling.
    Ultimately,certain councils are even considering charging us for waste that cannot be recycled being taken from our properties.Surely we as consumers need to address the situation now.

  • Comment number 18.


    I do not leave packaging behind. Fresh food is presented unpackaged. If you provide a container or take without packaging you are not using the shop's packaging.

    Another issue is how can you influence others to follow suit. The best an individual can do is to follow a strict routine and other staff/shoppers will notice and may join in.

  • Comment number 19.

    I agree with other posters; it's a false premise. There's nothing wrong with plastic, it's just disposable plastic - or disposable anything - that's the problem.
    Plastic can last millennia and that's fine if it's design allows it to be used for many years, and then to be recycled.

  • Comment number 20.

    #14 Thatwich -

    The programme last night was NOT Richard Dawkins prattling on about how great science is - it was actually the last of a very infomative series of programmes looking at "The Genius of Charles Darwin". It was aimed at showing how there are still people in the world who rally against his scientific findings surrounding evolution and natural selection. I for one am very much an 'evolutionist' if you wish to describe it this way and was amazed at the amount of opposition he found from those of faith and 'creationists'. May I suggest in future you do not watch such a programme just to moan about it....

    Chris I have read your blog with interest and have to admit it has made me think about the amount of waste we have in my house and I have been looking into local recycling opportunities. Although these are not lacking - I do not have recylcling picked up from my house by our local council, in fact I get my rubbish picked up twice a week as we live in the town centre....but it is just a big wheely bin where everything from the whole block of flats goes....

    In order for us to recylce we would need to have several bins in the house for each different type of waste and then DRIVE to either the council tip or the TESCO recycling point in order to recycle these items....does make me wonder if it actually worth it??

  • Comment number 21.

    Don't forget a lot of so called 'extra' packaging is there to protect consumers.

    Extra seals are fitted to clearly show if products have been tampered with in any way.
    In the past there have been cases when products have been tainted with bleach and other chemicals, either to hold ransom to the companies (Distributer/supermarket/producer).

    Just recently though they seem to be more relaxed, local Squeezed juices in Tetra Boxes, used to have an inner plastic ring pull, after opening the screw top. They have started removing this and improving the screw top to display any tampering.

  • Comment number 22.


    This is where local shopping wins hands down. I can buy veg/fruit unpackaged and fresh rather than the landfill mountain that comes with some superstore purchases. The unthinking chain of waste has to change to a sustainable model with minimal production and waste. When will the packaging industry take full responsibility for the waste their processes produce.

    Until they change I urge all consumers, where they are able to, to take up the Zero Waste challenge. Taking personal responsibility for this issue is a blow for a better future.

  • Comment number 23.

    I read this blog daily and althought I think Chris is doing well I can see she doesn't have much experience with "natural life".
    From all the daily problems, all the struggles while shopping or even having cuppa at work there's clearly seen that till now Chris was one of those people who can be put as a good example of consumer society individuals.

    Following few comments from today's issue - I also think Chris have never been camping before or never went to a romantic picnic..... Otherwise she would know there is no need for disposable table wear. Why? People don't go only once in their life, so why to dispose it after using? Reuse = better choice!

    And with all the respect most of the people nowadays are so unbelievably lazy that they go to a picnic by car instead of taking a walk. So they can't even complain about carrying stuff when get proper picnic set which is little bit heavier but still great.

  • Comment number 24.


    reading your other posts (with AJ) is quite interesting. On one hand you are very passionate about the ZeroWaste issue, but on the other, it seems that you will not change your current practice because it is what is working for you. Fair enough, however, as aquarizonagal pointed out, we can achieve near-to zerowaste at home, but still it does not mean that we don't leave waste behind. Also I like her suggestion #10. Hence, why I am so eager into convincing you that your efforts should be applied to the local councils to provide everyone with recycling options and the building of proper facilities. The moment businessess begin to be charged (like I am) for having extra bins, they will make the adequate financial choices to avoid such waste.

    To aquarizonagal: I recently spent time in the US and I was very fustrated with all the waste produced, especially concerning food. Even though I shopped at an organic store (my salvation in terms of good health and price). However I was really disappointed to find that the "green/healthy' stores often oversell paper, even worse. It also seems that the West is more wastefull than the Northeast. But what is the situation with recycling in the US?

  • Comment number 25.

    Wax wrapped cheese? Presumably made from parafin, not tallow or beeswax, and therefore effectively plastic? Likewise 'waxed paper'.. waxed with what?

    I agree with #21. A lot of the 'extra' packing is to deter maniacs putting razor blades into baby food and to prevent shoplifters emptying packets into their pockets.

  • Comment number 26.

    Apologies- I seem to have imagined the waxed paper, although it is a reasonable point. Is the shiny coating on many paper plates compatible with decomposition?

  • Comment number 27.

    #23 - Mischaela, regarding your comments.

    I think this is the whole purpose of Chris doing the experiment and not somebody else. If Chris was already a person who was oriented towards, as you call it 'natural life', then her blog would not show us how people with 'consumer society' orientations can make real change.

    There is no point in preaching to the converted, which in my experience, is what lots of smug eco-warrior-types seem to do, only to further alienate our cause.

    The bins in my local park are overflowing after every sunny picnic day. So, the discussion about non-disposable / re-usable alternatives for picnicking is thus very valuable, and I'm glad that Chris' actions and blog has encouraged it.

  • Comment number 28.

    I'm wondering if the 'wax-wrapped' cheese was indeed the same wax-wrapped Lancashire cheese Chris told us about on 3rd August?

  • Comment number 29.

    "The bins in my local park are overflowing after every sunny picnic day. So, the discussion about non-disposable / re-usable alternatives for picnicking is thus very valuable, and I'm glad that Chris' actions and blog has encouraged it."

    So what you're saying is that your council is failing to provide recycling bins at a site where a large amount of potentially recylcable rubbish is concentrated and collection would be extremely quick and cheap?

  • Comment number 30.


    I do not leave waste behind. Choosing loose food items only and putting into containers. Where is the waste?

    Councils need to do more, I agree 100%. This might need WRAP or Government intervention. It is a countrywide problem outside the scope of 1 individual. Business is a challenge as well.

    I , and other Zero Waste enthusiasts, will continue to ask others to take-up the challenge. Consumers can force the necessary changes. The more people join in the bigger the push for change.

  • Comment number 31.

    #27 aspidermonkey: You're right that this is a good idea and any effort like this should be appreciated and hopefully more people will wake up and start with thinking about the environment and all the possibilities of how to improve it's state.
    However, I'm worried that most people (and it's from my experience) will join this "trial" with excitement BUT after they find out that their old consume lives without worrying about the waste etc. were so easy and comfortable they will go back...

  • Comment number 32.

    "I'm worried that most people (and it's from my experience) will join this "trial" with excitement BUT after they find out that their old consume lives without worrying about the waste etc. were so easy and comfortable they will go back..."

    I agree.

    The government and businesses have two options then: they either make it easier to recycle and reduce excessive waste in stores (a carrot) or they'll tax the hell out of us and reduce bin collections even more (a stick).

    Why do I anticipate a big stick heading our way?

  • Comment number 33.

    #29 Peter_Sym:

    """So what you're saying is that your council is failing to provide recycling bins at a site where a large amount of potentially recylcable rubbish is concentrated and collection would be extremely quick and cheap?"""

    Good one! Speaking for myself (I said it already another day) - not only their council is failing to provide recycling bins.

    I contacted my local council 3x (!) last year and asked them to provide green and black boxes for out block with 9 flats (nearest recycling bins are 15-20mins walk and that's only charity clothes and glass) - I'm not a car owner (don't need it as commuting to work in the City is easier and cheaper by train) and don't have time to make long "recycling walks".

    Got 1 answer saying they'll provide some this April. Still have none! After months of waiting and storing washed tins, plastic milk and wine bottles I decided to ditch all in our only one container.
    It wasn't my first choice but if the council (or our famous goverment) can't be bothered why should I? If they want us to recycle they HAVE to provide some facilities for us.

  • Comment number 34.


    Nothing but agreement!

    Speaking about recycling and not giving us the opportunity to do so is nothing but nonsense.

    If I had a house with a garden I could at least grow my own veg, put leftovers and biodegradable waste to compost etc... but I don't. I am asking too much when I want recycling bins for our house? NO! So why is it so difficult to get some?

  • Comment number 35.

    I live on a little housing estate built on an old factory- its a sort of cloverleaf of cul-de-sacs with 8 2 bed terraced houses around a central parking area. We have to pull our wheelie bins to the end of the parking space for pick-up anyway and there is no reason whatsoever that the council can't install a couple of big 4 castor-style recycling bins there but they've refused several times as its 'financially unviable'????

    My garden is about 12 foot square so adequate for a sitting out in summer and growing a few herbs, but its brown field and only has a couple of inches of soil over rubble, so I don't need or have space for a composter.

    I do have a car but I don't see why I should have to drive to the local sainsburys to get rid of my recycle-able waste, especially as the facilities there are always stuffed to bursting point.

  • Comment number 36.


    Further to the previous reply. I am taking an interest in several things elsewhere:

    1. Mrs Green of MyZeroWaste has good contact with her local council. The councillor involved is interested in our Zero Waste. This could be a basis for other council activity.

    2. We are looking into recycling opportunities particularly in relation to plastic waste recycling eg ploythene.

    3. Daniel Burd's experiment on plastic bag waste may be the basis for a home landfill kit.

    There is plenty of useful activity.

  • Comment number 37.

    #29 - PeterSym:

    I agree - the council should be providing adequate recycling in such a popular pinic spot.

    But what I was trying to say is: the most important point that we as consumers can learn from this blog discussion is that we can REDUCE the amount of disposable material in our lives too. Reusable picnic-items (rather than paper/wood disposable alternatives to plastic) is one very easy start.

    Yes, councils should provide adequate recycling services for homes and public spaces. Yes, there should be corporate responsibility in packaging reduction. And Yes, I as an individual consumer should give careful thought to my purchasing choices. It is not an 'either or' situation.

  • Comment number 38.

    There's economy of scale issues: a flick of a pen at TESCO HQ or more local council could do far more than the actions of a 1000 consumers. Where I live is very heavily populated with students... they drink a lot and most don't have cars. A big glass recycling bin at the end of each street would make FAR more impact than any action we took as individuals. However as I stated its 'not financially viable' whereas apparently cutting our bin collections by 50% but not providing local alternatives IS.

    The other worry is what I call arnies zero emmision HUMVEE scenario. He fills up with hydrogen generated from burning coal in Nevada so although he's emitting nothing but water vapour in california he's actually pumping more CO2 into the air (over the border) than if he just ran the damn thing using diesel. The moral of this is that sometimes producing a little waste locally is better than producing huge amounts out of sight somewhere lese and using a plastic bottle rather than a glass one may not be the worst thing in the world given the relative energies needed to make glass alternatives.

  • Comment number 39.

    #38 - Tesco are already working in this area, and are rolling out across the UK 'front of store recycling'.

    Check out for detail.

    Your point about 'fake green initiatives' (AKA 'Arnie's HumVee') is also well made. It's a policy derived from the basis of much emotion and little real evidence. Arnie clearly needs a lesson in lifecycle assessment...

  • Comment number 40.


    To answer your question: It depends on where you live, some recycling is excellent and some is practically non-existent. It is often a matter of county or municipality rather than state by state or region.

    As far as food waste, I've seen a lot of that but we have an organic garden and produce a lot of our own food. Believe me I don't waste food! After you sow seeds, weed, tend etc. you want to eat the results, not throw them in a waste bin. My dear one and I were laughing recently about the season we planted too much cabbage. We ate cabbage nearly every day for weeks. We gave away as much as we could but I should write a cook book entitled '101 Ways to Prepare Cabbage!'

    My organic market discourages all forms of packaging by giving a small cash rebate for providing your own containers, cloth bags or totes.

    We ARE a wasteful country but many of us do our part to 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.' We
    are old enough to remember the years following the Depression. The mantra in our house is 'Waste not, want not!'

  • Comment number 41.


    Well said!

    I read recently that by keeping my older car (about 30mpg) rather than trading it for a hybrid, my 'Carbon Footprint' is actually smaller because the energy necessary to produce the hybrid is large in comparison to the minimal driving that I do. I've calculated that I only fill my gas tank, on average, six times per annum so my own footprint is rather small.

    There are people who consider themselves to be GREEN because they are quick to point out the faults of others. However, I have seen these same people do very wasteful things. I think that the key is balanced living and trying to do whatever small things that we can do to walk softly on our own piece of this earth.

  • Comment number 42.


    Just a short message of encouragement:

    That in your busy and challenging days you would also have a concern for environmental issues, should be a huge message to those of us who have a much easier life and take so much for granted.

    Blessings on you and your child.

  • Comment number 43.

    Been away from the PC for a few days but have read through to catch up. I must say I am very encouraged by the recent 'balance' to the debate. Both sides are putting across their cases very well and most, with the exception of a few are prepared to listen.

    johnhcrf: when are you going to listen to what experts in their field are telling you about the need for an appreciation and understanding of the wider environmental debate. The world is not black and white! Instead we are left with varuing murky shades of grey that normally change colour when you look at them closely enough. Get out from behind your barricade and actually do some debating.

  • Comment number 44.


    A plastic packaging person, like yourself, should realise that your wasteful processes contribute massively to landfill? When are you going to change?

  • Comment number 45.


    Johnhcrf is very passionate in his beliefs but can't we all respect that? He is trying very hard to send a strong message about our waste issues.

    I agree that there are "murky shades of grey" but we also need to honor those who are militant about raising our awareness of all these issues.

    We all need to work together to protect, preserve and nurture this earth for ourselves and our children/grandchildren.

    We do need to heed the advice of those who have scientific knowledge regarding our use of energy to recycle, and/or waste management.

    This forum has been so positive for sharing simple ideas for change and also for learning more about the best way to deal with plastics. Plastic is a part of our lives and it IS here to stay!

  • Comment number 46.


    Interestingly this new balance is actually leading, via this thread to the very crux of the issue:-

    * The 'postcode lottery' that is UK recycling.

    Let's start with some facts:-

    1. EU Landfill Targets are set and measured by weight (tonnes)

    2. UK Govt thus follows same measures, therefore repeating the same fundamental mistake as above.

    3. Local Authorities (LA's) then have to perform vs. weight based tonnage diversion targets. Thus the issue is further compounded.

    "So what's the issue with tonnage based targets of measurement", I hear you say......

    Well, if LA performance is solely measured on tonnes diverted where do you think they are going to focus their efforts and stretched resources - straight at the 'heavy' recyclable items like glass, tin and paper etc. This seems logical until you think actually the higher volume recyclable material is none of these, it's plastic.

    However plastic is a victim of its own success in being versatile, cheap and yet fantastically light in weight. Councils have to collect a whole heap of plastic (by volume) to collect a tonne, compared to a relatively small heap of paper say per tonne.

    Over-arching this fundamental issue is a distinct (alleged) lack of resource. "We haven't got enough money", "we need more money from govt to improve this", "we need more money from business", "we need to put up council tax, again". Well I ask you where are the hundreds of billions paid into govt through the PRN scheme / packaging obligations etc? Where has that money gone? Where has the money paid by supermarkets and packaging convertors in business rates gone?

    More importantly why can leading light example LA's do it and other laggards can't?

    Some LA's collect almost everything. They work in partnership with other LA's to fund, build and operate state of the art facilities that offer residents lucky enough to live in those areas some of the best recycling facilities in the country. Others cannot be bothered and instead choose to hide behind a local govt blame culture of "funding", "bad retailers" and "excessive packaging" yet see fit to threaten residents for the items they "cannot recycle". Where did the lack of facilities become the residents fault? How on earth do we decide to start taxing council tax payers for a lack of strategic direction and investment on the part of the LA? How can this be acceptable to anyone, other than the potty LA' sat signing it off through their own corrupt and ill managed processes?

    These are the real issues with recycling. It's not about supermarkets not using "non-recyclable" packaging. More than 90% of supermarket packaging IS recyclable. You dont believe me, check out the LGA War On Waste studies. They claim only 70% is 'recyclable' however you take a look at the 30% they claim is not recyclable and you will see PP Trays, PET Trays, you'll see PP bottle caps and you will see LDPE / LLDPE / PP films. Every single one of those materials IS recyclable in the UK today. Councils are collecting them, recycling firms are crying out for the feedstock and end markets are ready to sell the recycled goods back in. Dont tell me they are not recyclable, dont tell residents they are not recyclable - it is lie!

    Instead let's have some central and strategic direction (govt) for LA's. Let's have strict material / format specific standardisation of recycling. If it does need more money / funding, let's find it. The retailers and producers in this country pay more money per annum towards recycling and business rates than any other EU country, however I am certain if they knew the money was being correctly and transparently targeted to LA's / recycling they would pay up tomorrow.

    You want to do something - start a petition on the Downing Street website, write to your LA, write to your MP, demand to know why the next door LA can and does do a better job for their residents. Challenge LA's back when they start fining you for binning the stuff they should actually be collecting and recycling.

    lecture over, sorry..........

  • Comment number 47.


    Your "lecture" was totally excellent!

    I don't live in the UK but I sure hope someone on this blog was paying attention to what you posted and will join you in asking for change and an accounting of your tax money. We have some of the same problems here in the US. They only way to change that is to speak out. Good for you!

  • Comment number 48.

    You say what you see.
    I'm close enough to know, believe me.

  • Comment number 49.


    The waste is there because you buy products that were packaged before getting to the store or market. I don't believe that the veggies and fruits (especially berries) have travelled in lorries without packaging. I could be wrong if you buy locally grown, even then that would have to be almost 'next door'. It doesn't matter if you or the market dispose of the packaging. It only affects your guilt, but the waste is still there, unrecycled. The cardbox has left a lot of waste behind, from tree felling, chemicals used to produce it, and of course the plastic which it was in when it was sold ends up in landfill.

  • Comment number 50.

    Precisely because of this, is that I push for Local councils to do their part. We pay enough taxes. In Germany for example, they have an excellent recycling programme, and they have stuck to it. Why is it that we cannot have this here? Just 4 bins, different colours. Equally they could invest in sorting facilities too. But I think the 4 bin-option is better, as it instills a sense of responsibility in the community. Even supermarkets have to properly dispose of their waste. This means when they unpack the produce, you know that you are really not leaving waste behind, that every process-resulting waste has will be recycled.

  • Comment number 51.

    Why are we not allowed to write the initials for United Kingdom? It was blocked for profanity :(

  • Comment number 52.

    Come on - a plastic cup can be disposable, but that doesn't mean to say that it has to be disposed of! You can wash them out and reuse them, you can take them home and turn them into plant pots - I have frequently seen polystyrene cups in greenhouses!

  • Comment number 53.

    #43: johnhcrf

    "A plastic packaging person such as myself"

    I am not a plastic packaging person. In my role I head up packaging for a very major organisation (which I am not at liberty to reveal). I deal with every single packaging format and material under the sun. I can assure i have no bias towards one material or another. I merely state the facts from all angles.

    In terms of taking responsibility, I can assure we take packaging reduction very seriously indeed. I wish I could reveal to you just how seriously we take it and exactly what we are doing to reduce our usage. However this would clearly identify who I am and where I work.

    I know it all sounds very cryptic but it is for the best that I remain anonymous within this debate, sorry.

  • Comment number 54.

    #45: aquarizonagal

    "Johnhcrf is very passionate in his beliefs but can't we all respect that? He is trying very hard to send a strong message about our waste issues".

    I have nothing at all against passionate expression of beliefs and i fully respect anyone who takes the time to actually understand and contribute to this valuable debate.

    However the "strong message anout our waste issues" that johnhcrf is sending out is a rather one dimensional and totally unrealistic take on debate. He fails to even acknowledge that packaging adds any value or contributes any benefit at all to wider society and waste minimisation. In his world all packaging is BAD and therefore demonised and boycotted.

    I have explained the role of packaging in endless detail, as have others. A number of us have also tried to get the wider environmental and waste issues on the table for discussion. So far johnhcrf has chosen to demonstarte nothing but a blinkered lack of appreciation for these issues and wider challenges.

    I am all for 'zero waste' and respect any individual for wanting to pursue this commendable goal. However they should not under any circumstances pursue 'zero waste to landfill' at the detriment of the wider environment. That's all I ask.

    So far johnhcrf has failed to demonstrate he has taken any views, opinion, facts or comment on board from any contributer other than himself.

  • Comment number 55.


    A sustainable system where plastic production is minimal and plastic waste is also minimal is what I and others would like to see. Compare this to the trumpeted present. The chain of waste adds huge amounts to landfill every year, and will do so for evermore, unless their attitude changes.

    I do not use your packaging waste by choosing to shop local. The produce is fresher and my food waste is almost zero.
    Surely this is a better way.

    Change will be difficult and before this can happen the packaging industry must admit its culpability.

  • Comment number 56.

    "I am all for 'zero waste' and respect any individual for wanting to pursue this commendable goal. However they should not under any circumstances pursue 'zero waste to landfill' at the detriment of the wider environment. That's all I ask.

    So far johnhcrf has failed to demonstrate he has taken any views, opinion, facts or comment on board from any contributer other than himself."

    I've got to agree. I suspect strongly that johnhcrf is quite well off financially and can afford to pay extra to help support his crusade. Many cannot. I work extremely long hours and as a result cannot shop 'locally' as butchers etc are open 9-5 Mon-Fri.

    Even on a reasonable salary myself I could not afford a totally free-range organic food diet and HAVE to use supermarkets. That means having to accept packaging.

  • Comment number 57.


    I, too, shop in superstores and they are useful enterprises. There, I choose ZeroWastePackaging. This allows purchase of unpackaged items: apples, bananas, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes etc. I cannot purchase plastic bound items so it limits my choices.

    I am not a rich person but a person who sees the problem of this Use Once and Throw Away setup.

    If you cannot shop local, particularly for meat/fish, the use of home freezer containers would achieve Zero Waste. There are meat/fish counters in superstores, so that is possible.

    Butchers/fishmongers are always open on Saturday. Is this news to you?

  • Comment number 58.

    Ours isn't. The one independent butcher within walking distnance of home is 9-5 Mon Fri. We live in the centre of a city and there's a huge market as an annex to one of the shopping centres that has effectively shut down all the local greengrocers etc (well... they simply shut up shop and opened a stall there instead) but even by mid-afternoon the choice of food is minimal and again its locked up on Saturday.

    I also select fresh loose fruit and veg at supermarkets for the simple reason that you get a big bag of tomatoes (and yes it is a plastic bag) for less than 5 tomatoes on a plastic tray. However the majority of foodstuffs in a supermarket cannot be bought without plastic packing- cornflakes come in plastic bags inside the box, milk comes in plastic of plasticised card etc. I haven't seen a glass milk bottle since I was a student and in any case unless there are collection/recycle facilities glass is worse than plastic. The Romans landfilled enough glass 2000 years ago and its still around now!

  • Comment number 59.


    Totaly agree with the 4 (or more) bin option mentionet in this comment.

    It's not only Germany. More middle-europian countries do the same.
    In Czech for example they have recycling bins in almost every street with huge blocks (40 and more flats) big different-coloured containers are provided for paper, plastic, tins, white and coloured glass separately.

    And if you live in your own house there is another benefit when doing your part on recycling (I heard it's just a trial now tho) you get some of your taxes back if you put your rubbish separately in bags provided by local council outside your garden, so they can pick it up for recycling.
    That's what I call a great idea!

  • Comment number 60.

    This is precisely the point. Plastic in packaging or other forms have become an essential part of our society today. Even the 'local shops' use packaging to store our food and johnrcf has chosen to ignore this. Every morning they unpack it and put it 'fresh' on the stand, where he is free to shop with his cloth bag or bamboo basket, as I don't believe the air inside a 'local shop, or lori' is any different than the air in my house, which makes my unpacked organic tomatoes hardly survive after 3 days. I would be happy to hear an alternative for the produce to get from 'farm to the local market' without plastic packaging, and not paper. let's not forget paper comes out of trees, and trees are essential to our environment.

    Of course my point (as well as others) risk becoming irrelevant, if we are talking about GM foods and/or heavy pesticide use. However, the wider environmental impact (on soil, water, and surrounding wildlife) outweights any benefits from using adequate plastic packaging.

    #54: you could have just posted a link for our viewing, and not mentioned that you work for them ;)

  • Comment number 61.

    #46 idontmuchbut

    Please can you let me know the name and location of the recycling facility that accepts post-consumer PP and PET trays?

    I work for a plastics recycling company and am not aware of any such facility in the UK.

    When this material is collected, it is being exported for recycling.

    Incidentally we invest our PRN income into the development of new equipment.

  • Comment number 62.


    Good to see that you are taking some responsibility for avoiding packaging. It can be done.
    Of course, I buy milk in plastic jugs which are recycled. That is not Use Once and Throw Away!

    A related issue is Christmas packaging, another source of enormous waste. A fellow Zero Waste enthusiast mentioned it first, so I can expand on it. The best kind of packaging for toys, gadgets, dolls, books, sweets etc is the type which can be reused/returned, a sustainable type.
    Can the packaging industry offer this type of packaging and advertise as such? Contacting the big toy sellers might be worth doing to check the potential.

  • Comment number 63.

    I say that packaging (either paper, plastic, glass, wax.....etc.) is INEVITABLE!

    Eventho products can be sold loose. They're packed during transport to the shop anyway.

    But I strongly disagree with OVERPACKAGING.
    Too much is too much and only silly people can accept and be happy with the fact that many products are wrapped in layers and layers just to look pretty without having any other impact on the product itself.

  • Comment number 64.

    Here are some interesting links:

    and the scary note:

    " These Zero Waste Business Principles are intended to be a living document. Comments and suggestions are welcome..."

    and the small print:
    "1. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program of the U.S. Green Building Council,"

  • Comment number 65.


    " let's not forget paper comes out of trees, and trees are essential to our environment."

    Yes indeed.

    That's why I'm still bothered with the fact that someone pays astronomical amount of money to continue with destruction of Amazonian rainforests - THE LUNGS OF THE EARTH.
    Not only is it being destroyed but it's being destroyed with no obvious reason. Trees are just burned down without further use (don't agree with destroying of such a huge forests for any reason anyway).

  • Comment number 66.

    "let's not forget paper comes out of trees, and trees are essential to our environment." -- hydroscooby

    Yes, but where there is (1) private ownership of land and (2) a dense population, not replanting trees as they are cut is economic suicide. Softwoods are a cash crop like any other; they just have a longer growing cycle than most.

  • Comment number 67.


    Great links to the world movement of Zero Waste. One comment I liked was - " to keep spreading the good word".

    Zero Waste is more limited here but the numbers are growing. If everyone took up their own challenge to this great end, avoiding blaming others as an excuse for inertia, the sooner permanent change would occur.

  • Comment number 68.

    #65. The lungs of the earth are actually the photosynthetic plankton in the sea. Mature forests are virtually carbon neutral... the tree takes in a lot of carbon as it grows but once it reaches maturity it produces almost as much CO2 and it absorbs. Indeed the rotting vegetation on the ground of any jungle pumps out tons of methane which is 20x more potent a greenhouse gas than CO2

    Sustainable forestry is a much better option even that 'wild trees'- grow trees to maturity, cut them down, replant and use the wood for something that will be around for a long time, like furniture or houses. Paper mills are envriomentally worse than nuclear power plants (actually a LOT worse) and can kill rivers. Wood products can often be the best option but sometimes they're not. Its all a case of looking at the whole picture and comparing all the options.

    #62. I suspect it isn't Tesco that fills up your plastic milk jug for you.

  • Comment number 69.

    I think a lot of people are missing the point of the blog. This is an examination of how much we use and rely plastic in every day things and situations. With the blogger going through various situations it becomes clear just how hard it is to go without plastic, I think this is better than simply stating the amount of plastic used in tons per person as it allows us, the reader, to relate to real life scenarios.

    I certainly applaude the motives and I hope to live by the mantra of reduce, reuse, recycle more and more.

  • Comment number 70.


    The biggest issue is that many trees are cut down without replanting and this in just WRONG.

    Btw - when talking about CO2 and methane - cows are producing much more than cars! In other words - cows are seriously polluting our planet. NOT a joke!

    And to the sea plankton - "thanks" all the climate changes (like rains where used to be dry or winds where used to be only light breeze) lots of the sand from deserts is being blown away - to the ocean which is affecting the sea vegetation and plankton.

  • Comment number 71.

    #69 If thats the case its an odd approach to it. The whole angle of reducing waste at all costs rather overwhelms the main aim. As you say we DO rely on plastic for for everything. My concern is that plastic is made from oil, oil is a limited resource and needed to make just about everything that keeps us alive, starting with most of our medicines.

    Burning a gallon of oil to make a wooden toothbrush (a debate from a few weeks back that I probably shouldn't stir up again) to save 5 mls of oil being turned into polythene is madness. Equally burning a gallon of petrol to drive to a farmers market to buy a paper wrapped steak rather than walk round the corner to tesco for one in a plastic tray is equally crazy. Plastic is simply one oil based product we use and focusing on that to the total detriment of all else makes no sense and is possibly MORE damaging that doing nothing at all.

  • Comment number 72.


    I agree that experience something on ourselves is 100% bette than reading about it.

    What I don't think is that we can live totaly 100% plastic free life therefore the REDUCE REUSE RECYCLE motto should become a lifestyle.

  • Comment number 73.

    termites produce nearly as much as cows too. Actually this is all an example of my joined up thinking. The arianne rocket base in Guyiana is powered by hydroelectric which should be a good thing right? In actual fact the flooded forest floor and the dead material piled up behind the dam rot and produce so much methane that it would have been less enviromentally damaging to build a coal fired station instead!

    People saying 'hydro = good, coal = bad' are simply wrong in this particular scenario which is why I want everyone to stop focusing on the very end stage of everything.

  • Comment number 74.

    #67: They are truly good links. I tried searching for some in Europe from the international page, but they were not available. However, I posted the links to highlight the fact that a majority of the ZeroWaste movement is a part of a business, that sells green cones, and bokashi, along with other green services.

    It is a business: "The Only In My Backyard™ program is available to communities exclusively through Zero Waste, Inc. The program offers homeowners the means to easily and cost-effectively divert 100% of their food scraps and yard trimmings safely on their own property. It offers municipalities a means of achieving 100% diversion of organic materials from 1- to 3-unit residences without costly curbside collection."

    I don't think I have enough room to describe what is wrong with this sentence. So let me try to summarize this:

    1. The environment should not be for sale.

    2. going green should not be a life-style choice, where we are suckered into paying money or becoming part of a 'comunity'

    3. Costly curbside? Well why do we pay taxes? I want my taxes to be invested in curb side green collection, coloured bins, recycling facilities, health, education.... Or is it too much to ask my government to provide me with 4 couloured bins (10 euros each?)

    4. Homeowners? Safe disposal? Well what would exactly be unsafe about separating trash, plastic, water bottles, and composting? And how would it be unsafe if the local council provided the collection of these?

    5. Zero Waste, Inc? It is a registered company with probably registered trademarked 'green cones' ?

    The Zero waste movement has taken a business approach to a serious environmental problem today. They are not encouraging us to be greener and environmentally friendly. They want us to buy into their philosophy while they make a profit out of putting Waste Management, and recycling research out of business.

    All of their suggestions can be applied at each comunity through the government Waste Management programs, the only different would be that the 'backyard' would be a field far from my backyard, paid by our taxes, and would target everyone, everywaste.

    #68: You are so wrong about trees, trust me. Trees and forests are the single most effective sinks of CO2. To confirm this, you can google for some scientific evidence in

  • Comment number 75.

    oops I meant to say that they are not encouraging us to be greener and environmentally friendly just because of environmental altruism...

  • Comment number 76.


    as was said before - things are not just black and white and that's true.

    Something obviously "bad" can be at the end less harmful than so called eco-friendly options that need much more energy before can be created or brought to effect.

  • Comment number 77.

    #74 "You are so wrong about trees, trust me. Trees and forests are the single most effective sinks of CO2. To confirm this, you can google for some scientific evidence in"

    No I'm not. Effectively all the dry mass of the tree is carbon. The carbon cycle is very simple chemistry. As long as the tree keeps getting heavier its taking up carbon. Once the tree stops gaining weight its more or less carbon neutral. Trees produce carbon dioxide 24 hrs a day but only fix it for 12 hrs. respiration more or less equals photosynthesis. Thats why the CO2 levels in the atmosphere have remained more or less constant for millions of years. If forests fixed significantly more than they produced there wouldn't be any CO2 in the atmosphere at all.

    Growing trees are great carbon sinks, adult trees aren't and there is very little growth in mature rainforest as the big trees block out the light reaching the forest floor. You only get new trees in a rainforest growing where an old tree has fallen down. A fast growing spruce plantation in Norway is far more effective a sink than a clump of 400 year old mahogany trees.

    That doesn't mean I think we should cut down the rain forests- quite the opposite but there are many people in the US, starting with the white house and working down who have a political motive for exageratting the carbon sink benefits of forests as its worth carbon credits.

  • Comment number 78.


    Sustainable forestry which the wooden toothbrush suppliers employ is a good thing.

    That is great news. While I am brushing my teeth with the wooden wonder, I dream of the Zero Landfill contribution. No more plastic waste!

  • Comment number 79.


    Or you can dream while chewing herbs :))
    There is less energy included in planting and growing herbs for chewing (cleaning teeth) than it's in producing and transporting wooden brushes :)

  • Comment number 80.


    Please dont upset my dreams with unrealistic alternatives.

  • Comment number 81.

    #78. Sort of. I'm still unconvinced that the extra energy needed to make a short term disposable product from wood compared to the tiny amount needed to make a plastic version makes it a greener version. You need a LOT of oil to cut down and process wood.

    The best use for wood is housing as built properly its a very good insulator and a wooden house looked after properly should last a lifetime or more. The energy needed to make good thick planks won't be too far off that needed to make bricks and cement.

  • Comment number 82.

    #77. I was referring to your #68 post in which you state:

    "Sustainable forestry is a much better option even that 'wild trees'- grow trees to maturity, cut them down, replant and use the wood for something that will be around for a long time, like furniture or houses."

    In this regard you are wrong about trees, they are effective sinks of CO2, and for the overall environment, in that, they also shelter wildlife and other plants that would otherwise not grow. The forests need to be preserved for various environmental issues. Your previous post sounded (read) as if you wanted to chop down forests.... that johnhcrf could grow his herbs for chewing ;)

  • Comment number 83.

    #82. I've explained why forests aren't especially good sinks. Firstly they don't absorb that much CO2 and secondly when they die they rot and release it all again. If we're really unlucky they die and rot in wet slightly anearobic conditions and release the carbon as methane which is 20 times more potent than CO2. At best they're temporary stores of CO2 for a decade or two. A plank built into a house is a store potentially for centuries. There are plenty of timber framed houses in York that are storing CO2 that was last a gas when Henry VIII was a boy.

    Forests are valuable for exactly the reasons you state plus two more important ones: they encourage rainfall in those locations and they hold the soil in place. Cut down forests and you get desert.

    What I suggest is cutting down small areas of forest and planting more trees in their place. Sustainable forestry, not slash and burn of the jungle.

    The worlds lungs are the oceans... ocean covers 80% of the surface of the earth and most of that has photosynthetic plankton near the surface. That fixes Co2 then when it dies it sinks, is covered by sediment and the carbon trapped. the carbon trapped this way millions of years ago is still down there- its called oil. A big mahogany tree with an orang-utan in it may be photogenic but its less valuable than plankton. Mess with that and we ARE dead.

  • Comment number 84.


    A sustainably produced wooden toothbrush is an excellent alternative to the never ending production of landfill waste incorporated into the plastic toothbrush, including the One Use and Throw Away (to landfill) plastic packaging waste.
    A sustainable plastic toothbrush would be a better choice but I do not see it coming anytime soon.

    I aim to send a home binbag every 4-5 years as my personal contribution to Zero Waste. What will your contribution be to that great cause?

  • Comment number 85.

    Never underestimate capitalism. If there's money in a product someone will produce it and cash in. Toyota don't make prius's because they care about the enviroment (in fact I don't think they're an especially green product anyway but thats an other debate) but because they want to turn a profit.

    A sustainable plastic toothbrush is a neat marketing gimick and could sell well.

  • Comment number 86.

    #83: Chopping forests is never a good can also use different land for sustainable forestry. Leave the orang-utan his tree where he is happy.


    Here is another great document (pdf).

    "Domestic and commercial packaging waste is collected and recycled under a separate system organised by the company DSD... In 2000, 77% of all packaging was recycled: glass 82%, paper and cardboard 77%, tinplate 80%, aluminium 83%, plastic 61% and drinks cartons 56%. This exceeds targets in domestic and EU legislation."

  • Comment number 87.

    If tootbrushes would have to (for any reason) stay plastic they could be made "for life".
    Plastic tootbrush with disposable head - everytime you need new one you just change the head (that could be made from natural bristles) as you do with razors - it would be definitely less plastic waste.

  • Comment number 88.

    #86. I totally agree. There are huge chunks of Scotland that were forested that are now wasteland that should be reforested. Unfortunately forestry plantations and wildlife are not compatible.... a forest of pines for wooden toothbrush manufacture is not a wildlife sanctuary.

    I never and would never suggest chopping down orangs homes! Not only do I like orang utangs the soil thats available once you have dropped a rain forest is almost useless and blows away within a year or two. At best you might get a year or twos cash crop, but after that the land is dead. best never to meddle in the first place.

  • Comment number 89.


    The wooden toothbrush does not need unsustainable wood from Scotland.

    You did not answer my Zero Waste question. Do you not recognise this world movement for sustainable change? It is growing day by day.

  • Comment number 90.

    I didn't understand your zero waste question and the 'that great cause' sounded frankly frightening. What the hell is a home binbag anyway?

    Neither did I suggest using 'unsustainable wood from Scotland' the exact opposite in fact: Scotland used to be covered by the Caledonian forest... huge tracts of Scots pine (not norwegian spruce). Contrary to popular belief much of it was cut down in the iron age and the last of it was used to make the masts for Nelson's ships. There's no 'unsustainable timber' left in Scotland!

    Whats been left behind is barren wilderness (such as Rannoch moor) that stretches across most of the country. I used to camp in a small clump of caledonian pine (20 or 30 trees) where there used to be millions. I'm in favour of restoring a little of that forest (and restoring the bears and wolves that used to live in it) and funding it by turning a lot of the moorland into forestry plantation.

    Forestry plantation is incompatible with wildlife as its a monoculture spaced to allow efficent harvesting and replanting. That is a sustainable forest in the real world. Your german made toothbrush comes from this sort of scheme. Frankly better to have locally grown Scottish wood than German unless you're going to walk to Duselfdorf and collect it in person!

  • Comment number 91.


    You are frightened by Zero Waste. Let me guess, you are a plastic packaging type or work in a related industry.

    What amount of waste do you send to landfill from your residence or work, via rubbish collections? Increasing numbers are reducing their waste amounts not in a frightening but in an enlightened way.

    As for Scotland, I agree with bringing back native forests along with wolves to keep the deer in check. Deer take sustenance from growing trees.

  • Comment number 92.

    #90. The fact that the trees were felled, and transported to a factory where it (spent a lot of oil, waste products, and chemicals) to make that toothbrush, and then again a lori/ship/flight (with high CO2 emissions) to be delivered at the store where he bought it for ~5 euros is a non-issue to him. What matters is that he is not having to dispose of anything other than the little plastic on the head!

  • Comment number 93.


    Trying to demonise sustainably produced wooden toothbrushes will not work. You plastic packaging types must realise that change is coming to your unacceptable practices. It is not just me but a whole host of people, worldwide, who prefer to live in a sustainable low waste world.

    Plastic will be part of this future but it must be a low production/low waste sustainable

  • Comment number 94.


    Your posts are taking on the incoherent ramblings of a cult leader. By your own admission you have been doing this for 20 weeks, not 20 years. I really think this 'freshness' to the debate adds to your naievity and lack of appreciation for the wider environmental issues with your approach to the debate. All you offer is the same rehashed views to every argument whilst ignoring expert facts and evidence.

    How many times do people need to spell it out - the issue is not what goes to landfill. The issue is of sustainability and addressing three planet living.

    I honestly laugh every time I read you post "one of those plastic packaging types". It's so black and white in your world, life must be so simple. Meanwhile the rest of us have to wade through the murky grey middle-ground of confusion, discovery and mistakes whilst balancing all the angles and trying to do the right thing.

    What one this earth a wooden toothbrush has to do with a debate around sustainability, global warming and carbon sinks I dont know. It seems to have become a ridiculous icon of naievity and false belief.

  • Comment number 95.


    I ask all consumers to take up the Zero Waste challenge, including all you plastic packaging industry types who have a financial interest in the current wasteful situation.

    Landfill is a massive problem. The sad thing is incineration is being pushed "on the fly" as the cheap answer to this problem.
    This will allow you, and your like, to continue with the chain of waste you so admire from now 'til the end of time.

    I say reduce waste. I have 1 binbag from the home going to landfill in 4-5years. That is a 99% reduction in waste. My contacts, every bit as knowledgable as I on the subject, are doing their bit too. Only the consumer has the power to change this horrendous situation by overcoming the vested interests in packaging waste.

  • Comment number 96.

    #91. I'm a cancer research scientist funded by charity working in a university research dept. Our waste is bio-hazard and is burnt in a hospital incinerator. If you want to recycle the plasticware I've grown Ecoli on be my guest.

    On a list of my major worries the plastic packing industry wouldn't make top 50.

    I'm not frightened by zero waste.. I'm frightened by eco-facists destroying our planet with their ill-informed views. My first target would be prince charles who claims GM crops cause climate change. Utter garbage which he can't prove. If we all switch to organic food then 3 or 4 of the 6 billion people on earth today will starve. We cannot feed the globe. The fact that you seem to think the destruction of the Aral sea is better than using a plastic bag says it all really. There's a big wide world beyond your (empty) dustbin.

    You should REALLY study your language 'this glorious cause' is the langauage of every religious maniac ever to start a war and your idolisation of a wooden toothbrush is actually worrying me a lot. I truly think you've lost the balance of your mind over it and its become a totem, not a minor tool for cleaning your teeth.

  • Comment number 97.


    I see all you plastic packaging industry and fellow travellers are all singing from the same hymn sheet.

    You have to realise that the public are joining in the Zero Waste (waste reduction) campaign. Trying to demonise my interest, which is non-financial!, will not work.

    A sustainable future is the only option which will leave our panet in a fit state for
    generations ahead. The current chain of waste must end.

    Christmas is on the way and I think we should look to reduce the horendous waste mountain that arises from packaging excess.

  • Comment number 98.

    See what I mean- I tell you I'm a charity funded cancer research scientist and you again accuse me of being a plastic packaging salesman on some financially motivated crusade to stop you!

    You're not prepared to accept or listen to to any statement that contradicts what you've already decided to be true.

  • Comment number 99.


    I am expressing the shared views of concerned consumers. We see the plastic packaging waste, food waste and recyclables which can end up in bins.

    Plastic packaging waste is my last big target for removal. I have largely achieved this. What is needed now is for all consumers/householders to join-in and finish the job.

    Government, councils, superstores, business, industry are lagging well behind. We the consumers must lead the charge towards a sustainable future.

    Vested interests enjoy the status quo, as has been shown in the various negative posts. See them for what they are!

  • Comment number 100.

    "Only the consumer has the power to change this horrendous situation by overcoming the vested interests in packaging waste."

    Let me just correct one mistake here:

    Consumers have the CHOICE! We all can decide whether we want to choose eco-friendly option or take the risk with all the junk offered to us.

    BUT it's the factory, distribution, goverment etc. who makes the decision what do we get to choose from.


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