The plastic crisis in UK
In Greenpeace's Big Plastic Count in May 2022, nearly a quarter of a million people counted their plastic waste for one week. On average each household threw away 66 pieces of plastic which, scaled up for the whole UK, equates to 96 billion pieces of plastic every year. 83% of this was food and drink packaging. Just over half of the pieces of plastic thrown away during The Big Plastic Count were soft plastics and plastic film – used in everyday items like crisp packets, bread bags and toilet roll wrap. Soft plastic is notoriously difficult to recycle – meaning just 13% of local authorities collect it. While some supermarkets have set up soft plastic take-back schemes, like the Co-ops on Skye and Lochalsh, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Greenpeace estimates that only 12% of our household plastic packaging waste is actually recycled in the UK. Of the other 88%, 17% is exported to other countries to deal with where it may be dumped and burned, creating environmental and human health problems. 25% of the plastic waste goes to landfill, where it slowly degrades and releases toxins and microplastics, which can pollute the air and waterways. And almost half (46%) is burnt in incinerators, which can release noxious gases and, because plastic is made from fossil fuels, burning it releases greenhouse gases that are fuelling the climate crisis.
While the UK government has announced some steps towards tackling the tide of plastic, too much plastic is being produced and recycling is not enough – to deal with it we must turn off the plastic tap.
If you wish to sign Greenpeace's petition to the UK government for more urgent action on plastics, you can click here.
[Thanks to Skye Climate Action fir this item.]
Single-use plastics - new laws come into force June 2022
Zero Waste Scotland has produced a summary of the new legislation which will ban or restrict the manufacture and sale of certain single-use plastic items from 1 June 2022.
Which companies are the worst plastic polluters?
by Anne MacLennan Skye Climate action
Break Free from Plastic has just released their annual Brand Audit Report, Branded: holding corporations accountable for the plastic and climate crisis. 11,000 volunteers in 45 countries collected 330,000 bits of plastic for the audit, and then analysed them to identify the companies responsible. From over 7,000 brands, the worst polluters for this year were Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola, Unilever, Nestlé, Proctor and Gamble, Mondelēz International, Philip Morris International, Danone, Mars, and Colgate Palmolive.
As plastic is made from fossil fuels, “the world’s addiction to single use plastic is a serious contributor to the climate crisis” Today’s convenience leads to tomorrow’s chaos. The report adds that “if the entire plastic lifecycle were a country, it would be the fifth largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world”. Fossil fuel companies such as ExxonMobil, Shell, and Dow make the plastic resin and sell it to packaging manufacturers who then supply Coca Cola and other ‘Fast moving consumer goods’ companies. Indeed, fossil fuel companies are planning to ramp up plastic production to keep them going as their usual markets are whittled away by renewable energy and electric vehicles.
October 2021 from Changeworks newsletter
Wrap - Clear on Plastic
Cutting through the confusion with clear, evidence-based information
Clear on Plastics™ is a campaign brought to you by WRAP, and supported by The UK Plastics Pact. It exists to cut through the confusion and give citizens clear, evidence-based information on plastics and sustainability, allowing them to make their own informed choices.
Our aim is to give people clear information about the complex world of plastics, waste and recycling – for instance, explaining the role of plastics, and demonstrating the balance between the benefits and drawbacks of alternatives.
The campaign aims to make citizens feel more well-informed about plastics in order to make their own, sustainable choices; with content based on the latest citizen conversations, online and in the media, in order to achieve reach and impact.
Break Free from Plastic - Skye Climate Action
Thursday 8 July 7.30 - 9.00 on Zoom
'The Story of Plastic' film shows how our planet is literally awash with plastic and reveals fossil fuel and petrochemical companies' strategies for increasing the amount of plastic entering our lives.
Our July SCARRR (Reduce, Re-use, Recycle) meeting will look at plastic-free alternatives and the opportunities and difficulties of recycling / upcycling waste plastic. There will be an overview of the impact of plastic pollution on climate, and we'll also talk about the Break Free from Plastic movement and potential local actions, such as brand audit and supermarket plastic collection at source.
All welcome: join the discussion or if you prefer, just sit in and listen. You can obtain the zoom link from Anne.
'The Story of Plastic' - Skye Climate action
Skye Climate Action arranged a viewing and discussion of this 96 minute documentary film.
THE STORY OF PLASTIC presents a cohesive timeline of how we got to our current global plastic pollution crisis and how the oil and gas industry has successfully manipulated the narrative around it. From the extraction of fossil fuels and plastic disposal to the global resistance fighting back, THE STORY OF PLASTIC is a life-changing film depicting one of the world’s most pressing environmental issues.
Watch the trailer The Story of Plastic (documentary film) - Story of Stuff
You can also watch a free 4 minute animated video The Story of Plastic
Drastic Plastic further update
Following Penny and Jimmie Hepburn's resignation as TBI directors and removal to Aberdeenshire to be nearer to family, the Drastic Plastic group within TBI is currently in abeyance. The issue of our use and misuse of plastic and the enormous waste problem it causes remains as important as ever, and TBI retains the materials and information used by Penny and the group at public events.
TBI would be delighted to hear from anyone able and willing to revive and continue the work of Drastic Plastic. If you think this might be something you could do please contact Julie Gibson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Drastic Plastic Group Update
Sadly, as all public events came to a halt – we have not been able to take our Drastic Plastic stand to anything since 2019 and all the intended plans we had made for last year, had to be put on hold.
Just before the original ‘lockdown’ – a couple of us had been working towards having a TBI Terracycle collection box or boxes (to collect a named brand of used containers or wrappers) which would be taken around the different indoor Markets across the Black Isle. But sadly, as you will all know, the indoor markets also had to go on hold. We had also been in communication with other organisations, who had their own Terracycle collection points around our area and slightly beyond, with the intention of being able to collect more than just one brand of item, (as the collection points take various branded items in bulk), which we would have been able to ‘feed’ into. That too was unable to happen.
On a positive note, a couple of months ago, TBI was contacted by the Inverness Science Festival organisers, who were organising an online Science Festival Family event to run on 2 days - Saturday 1st May and Saturday 8th May. They asked if we wanted to contribute an online activity to which we said yes (without having a clue quite how) and on further thought realised that the best option would be to do something around the activities we did at the last real Science Festival Family day 2 years ago. Subsequently, we have submitted two activities in virtual form: a ‘Spot the Difference’ Beach Clean and a ‘Match the alternative non plastic item to the plastic item’.
This is a Family event with lots of varied and interesting activities to take part in. Great for children of all ages and fun for adults too! So please promote the event if you can.
The link to the event is
Hopefully, as restrictions are gradually removed, we will be able to resume some of our activities.
Making wax cloths video
Drastic Plastic organiser Penny Hepburn, in conjunction with MOO Food, has made a video showing how to make wax cloths to use instead of plastic for wrapping and covering food.
To view the video click this link, then click on the image in Dropbox.
Welcome to Drastic Plastic - September 2018
Welcome to the Drastic Plastic Webpage and to the newly formed TBI Plastic Waste Group. We consist of members who have got together and agreed that in the wake of the current horrors associated with Plastic Waste, we need to raise awareness of the issues and take action here on the Black Isle.
A successful inaugural ‘Open’ Meeting was held in June and those who attended had the opportunity to discuss some of the issues, voice their concerns and suggest how they thought we could tackle the subject. Issues discussed were:
- What’s Drastic About Plastic
- How is it affecting the environment and all of us
- Ways we can make a difference on a personal level and collectively as TBI
From those discussions, four main strands for action emerged:
- Publicity: to raise awareness
- Education: so that people can make informed choices
- Website Information
These will be developed in future meetings and activities.
Penny Hepburn email@example.com
Aims and Objectives
Transition Black Isle The Drastic Plastic Group
The Drastic Plastic Group has been established to raise awareness of the issues surrounding plastic waste within the Black Isle. This will then enable members & businesses within the community to make their own informed choices as to the way they purchase, use, recycle or dispose of their plastic waste.
- To highlight the indiscriminate disposal of plastic waste either by the general public or by businesses.
- To educate the community in the dangers of plastic waste to both human and animal health and to equip the community with knowledge of suitable and sustainable alternatives.
- To encourage local manufacturing businesses and outlets to end the production and use of single use plastic in their packaging and to provide better labelling on non single use packaging regarding the items' correct form of disposal.
- To provide accurate, up to date, relevant information on all forms of plastic and their available alternatives.
- Holding publicity events such as a beach clean and plastic waste sculpture competition.
- The delivery of informative and educational talks from public sector recycling organisations and other appropriate professionals. Holding workshops on ‘up cycling’ and making non plastic alternatives to packaging. The provision of information leaflets to be given out at events such as the Black Isle Community Markets.
- Letter writing and campaigning to relevant businesses requesting their co-operation and support in the reduction or phasing out of single use plastic packaging and for the provision of accurate plastic recycling labelling information.
- The creation of a Drastic Plastic section on the Transition Black Isle website, with appropriate links to the wider Web. Relevant access to & interaction with appropriate social media such as Facebook and Twitter. The formation of an online Directory of local outlets, who are providing suitable alternatives to plastic packaging.
Penny Hepburn: September 2018
Drastic Plastic at Inverness Science Fair Family Day
A team of Drastic Plastic / TBI volunteers, supported by Freya and Duncan from Highland Council's Waste Aware team, manned a stall at the culminating event of the Inverness Science Festival - the Family Day of fun and information held at Inverness Leisure Centre last Saturday 11 May.
In thanking the volunteers, not only for being there on the day but for all the work that went into preparing the displays for the stand, Penny commented
"I think it was well received. The children seemed to enjoy the activities and there was some good chat with both children and adults about plastic recycling, waste and alternatives."
Alaine Macdonald, one of the helpers and TBI's Membership Secretary, has written a personal account of the day
Drastic Plastic at the Inverness Science Saturday 11th May 2019
"All afternoon the hall at Inverness Leisure Centre was thronged with people obviously enjoying themselves. The various stands were well spread out with enough floor space for people to move around freely.
"The Drastic Plastic stall had a good position opposite the entrance. As I entered the hall Lesley waved to me and I immediately recognized Julie’s clever ‘Drastic Plastic’ sign which she had conjured up with plastic bottle tops.
"We had three tables arranged in a horse shoeshape creating three sections: Freya and Duncan, from the Inverness Council, were answering questions on recycling and people were sorting ‘waste’ into blue and green bins. Children seemed to enjoy ‘cleaning the beach’ on the middle table with its large tray representing the seashore. There were toy sea creatures, beach shingle, shells, dried seaweedand lots of ‘rubbish’ for younger children to sort. They were also encouraged to explain what damage it was doing. The third section had the Decomposition Quiz (how long it takes for different things to decompose) which was popular with older children. Adults also found it interesting. Several people took copies away with them. There were also two baskets – one containing items made with plastic and the other one containing something similar which was not made of plastic. Children were encouraged to find a corresponding item in each basket. Next to this table was a large upright display screen on which were attached disposable items and containers. Each disposable item had a red string leading to a more eco-friendly alternative. A bunch of plastic bags hung there forlornly offering no alternative!
"It seems that we were well received and will be invited back next year. Time seemed to go quickly while we were busy and I enjoyed it all immensely although it was very tiring,especially for those who had arrived early to set up the stand well before opening time."
- Saturday 28 January
- 10:00 North Kessock Community Market
- 11:00 Transition Town Forres need help with hedge cutting
- 19:30 CCT - Talk by Shona Maclean on 'The Bookseller of Inverness'
- Monday 30 January
- 08:30 Transition to a zero waste and circular economy in Scotland - online commercial conference
- Tuesday 31 January
- 14:00 Opportunities for large scale reuse in Scotland
- Wednesday 1 February
- 18:00 'Riverwoods' film at UHI
- Saturday 4 February
- 13:00 Black Isle Repair Cafe North Kessock
- 17:30 Transition Town Forres - Imbolc fundraising event
Events to add to calendar? Contact Us.
Add Your Business
Do you run a sustainable business on or near the Black Isle? Add it to the TBI business directory