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Let’s talk about Plastic…

Plastic is over 150 years old but we think of it as a quite a recent development.

Its inventor, the Birmingham-born chemist Alexander Parkes, patented this new material in 1862 as Parkesine. Considered the first manufactured plastic, it was a cheap and colourful substitute for ivory or tortoiseshell.

The 20th Century saw a plastics revolution and in less than 100 years, Plastic has become one of the singularly most used and produced materials on the planet.

The resins used in the plastics industry are a bi-product of processing waste materials from crude oil and petroleum production. The big oil producers formed alliances with major industrial giants to find ways of using the by-products and in 1932, ICI had its first big success with Perspex.

Polyethylene, now the world’s most abundant plastic used widely in packaging, came about by an experiment that went wrong in 1933. The shopping bag and Tupperware arrived soon after. However the qualities that make Plastic such a versatile and durable product, also contribute to making it difficult to dispose of with some variants taking literally tens of thousands of years to degrade.

PET plastic used in drinks bottles was patented in 1973 and are now one of the largest pollution contributors with ca 500 billion bottles used annually.

It’s estimated that everyone of us in the UK disposes of around 1Kg of recyclable waste material, on average, per day. Currently, less than 15% of all plastic is recycled.

Eight million tonnes of waste plastic enter the oceans annually.

By 2050, its estimated 99% of seabirds will have ingested some form of plastic.

Straws, along with carrier bags and food wrappers, are amongst the most prevalent plastic debris found in the oceans.

Over 11 BILLION plastic condiment sachets are sold or given away each year.

1 Tonne of re-cycled Plastic saves;

  • Over 16 barrels of crude oil
  • 5774Kwh of energy
  • Around 4 cubic meters of landfill space

So we need to…..

  • Rethink
  • Reuse
  • Reduce
  • Recycle

Pouches use 75% less plastic than pots and lids and are cheaper to produce, use less energy in production, use less road miles to transport and emit less CO2 in their life cycle.