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Dodging the plastic bullet

War Cry comments on plastic waste

About half a million tonnes of plastic waste are shipped out of the UK every year

AS people celebrated the start of the new year across the globe, China introduced a ban on imports of plastic waste. That ban in a country more than 4,000 miles away will have a significant impact in the United Kingdom.

About half a million tonnes of plastic waste are shipped out of the UK every year, and environmental groups and recycling organisations are warning that previously recycled products will now end up in landfill sites.

The UK Recycling Association has already said that plastic waste is building up at recycling yards.

Also warning about the perils of plastic products is the United Nations Environment Programme. It has estimated that by 2050 there could be more plastic rubbish than fish in the world’s oceans, with some of it taking more than 400 years to biodegrade.

The problems can also be found much closer to home in the UK’s rivers. A study in 2016 by environmental organisation Thames 21 found that 59 per cent of the Thames was contaminated by minute particles of plastic.

The environmental problems that plastic causes cannot be ignored. Manufacturers need to be more responsible for the packaging they use. Consumers need to be more discerning about how the goods and foods they purchase are wrapped and packed.

Some may argue that the time has come to consider financial incentives such as the latte levy for takeaway cups. Since the 5p carrier bag charge was introduced in England in 2015, the use of bags has gone down by more than 80 per cent, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

If we didn’t need as many carrier bags as we were using, surely we don’t need as many plastic products either. It’s time to change our thinking and our buying habits. Our planet was not designed to come plastic-wrapped.

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