Reducing Plastic

Plastic news

August 2022

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 for 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, Mondel─ôz 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.

Read the full article


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.


June 2021

'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

Rent the film from Vimeo

You can also watch a free 4 minute animated video  The Story of Plastic

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