In response to Sky television’s documentary ‘A Plastic Tide‘ and its associated Ocean Rescue campaign, the British Plastics Federation’s director general, Philip Law said: “The BPF welcomes the work Sky is doing to highlight poor waste management systems globally and the irresponsible littering and dumping which have led to the unacceptable presence of plastics in the seas.
“We also appreciated Sky’s invitation to us to participate in the televised debate which enabled us to provide the plastics industry’s own perspective on the issue”
The Sky Ocean Rescue panel was hosted by Adam Boulton and also included Louise Heaps, the chief adviser on Oceans for WWF-UK, former Pussycat doll and environmental campaigner Kimberly Wyatt, and Mary Creagh MP, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee.
Speaking in the televised debate the Director of the BPF’s Plastics and Flexible Packaging Group, Barry Turner explained: ”Plastics is chosen by retailers and brand owners for well thought out technical, economic and environmental reasons. Plastics packaging uses less energy to produce than other materials and significantly extends the life of food, dramatically reducing food wastage and thereby saving resources”
Turner informed the audience that the recycling rates for plastics are an impressive growth story and that plastic bottle recycling is now reaching 60%. In addition, he said significant strides have been made on the recycling of pots, tubs and trays and other previously unrecycled plastic products. Moving forwards he felt that more work needs to be done to ensure comprehensive collection of all used plastics packaging to ensure the plastics recycling success story can continue at the current rate.
He also said that behavioural change is key and education will play a major role in improving the current situation. The BPF and Plastics Europe are working on a number of initiatives including the CSI: Litter Challenge to encourage school children to think about the consequences of littering and various initiatives run by HubBub including their ‘Neat Streets’ campaign and a scheme to clean up the Thames (‘For Fish’s Sake’).
Responding to questions calling for deposit legislation on bottles as a means to tackle the litter problem, Turner said: “It is important to note that plastic bottles only account for 2% of litter and in order to tackle the litter problem head on it is best to concentrate on the whole picture rather than one small component. Deposit schemes would result in dual collection systems with obvious additional costs and would cause a weakening of the value of kern side collection. The BPF are yet to see any robust and compelling evidence to suggest that a deposit scheme would have the desired impact.”
The BPF is calling on all stakeholders to engage in practical programmes that represent a real determined effort to tackle littering and to prevent the leakage of used packaging made from all materials into the environment. It said it is important to remember oceans have no borders and we encourage all countries to ensure they have comprehensive collection infrastructure to collect plastics for re-use and recycling as well as educational campaigns to influence behavioural change.
Source: News – Packaging News | Jobs | Production | Design | Innovation