Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The last Straw?

A little while ago I went for a walk along the north bank of the river Thames from Coal House Fort to the World’s End (it’s a pub) just past Tilbury Fort where I had a very nice lunch and two pints of Abbott. Along the way I noticed a very large quantity (the path was covered in them) of 3 inch (that’s about 75mm in Euro nonsense) hollow blue or white plastic strips which at first I thought were discarded wiring insulation. They were not. They were the remnants of Q-Tips (the two ends being bio-degradable cotton). Just washed up and deposited on the shore and the path at high tide.

Now. I remember when the middle part of Q-Tips were made of bio-degradable cardboard and I also remember when straws were made of the same stuff. But then along came plastic. In fact I remember a whole bunch of stuff that was once made from bio-degradable material which is now made of plastic which isn’t. The houses and hotels in Monopoly sets, the letter trays for Scrabble and so on etc.

But it’s straws that I want to focus on here. There are millions of these plastic straws being sent to landfill every day. Every single piece of plastic that has ever been made still exists, somewhere. And a lot of it can be found in the guts of wildlife. And it's all Delboy's fault.

So, it’s no surprise to me that one Waste Management Company is calling for a 5p tax on plastic straws the same as we now have on plastic bags, yet another item that used to be made from bio-degradable material.

As Mark Hall says, ““Face the facts, you’re not eight years old. Only kids need a straw with their fizzy pop. Why on Earth do you need a straw in your G&T?

“And while we’re here, the same goes for the little paper-plastic umbrella in your cocktail. They rank with Christmas cracker treats as the most pointless invention known to man.” Oh yeah.
It’s an idea that’s got some traction – a parliamentary petition closed recently with over 3,000 signatures, so with the right kind of publicity, it could easily become an issue that will attract widespread public support.
Well, if I’d known I dare say I could have drummed up more than a few to add to that total.
“We’d love to see the plastic drinking straw phased out completely within the next couple of years,” says Business Waste’s Mark Hall, “That’s an ambitious timescale, but one that is certainly achievable.”
“They are pretty much the ultimate in human wastefulness, and a problem that can so easily be solved with very little effort.”
Just like the plastic bag issue, all it takes is politicians at national and local levels, as well as the end users in pubs and fast food establishments saying that their use is anti-social and unacceptable.
There’s an election on so why not ask your candidates what they think, if indeed they have the capacity to think beyond what they are told by their party machine.

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