A letter from Ian Dent – Plastics problem

A letter from Ian Dent – Plastics problem

Thank you for your balanced commentary on the above subject in the April issue.

I agree with you in considering whether a deposit scheme for bottles – of all types – is the right way to address the use and reuse of plastics and your comments on litter. Both issues have a root cause in us humans wishing for more convenience in our lifestyles, which carries through to disposal as well as use. Plastics have certainly made shopping easier, lighter and more convenient in use and storage but it is a victim of its own success when it comes to waste. Alas, humans are too ready to seek the most convenient manner to dispose of waste, including throwing it out of a car window or leaving it on a beach, field or pavement. Thus, with any deposit scheme, only where a convenient door-step collection system is in operation, such as the milkman, will schemes succeed both environmentally and commercially. Carrying empties to a bring site – and even worse driving to a bring site – will probably only be used by those who are already engaged in separating out their waste for collection systems. Hence, you will rob Peter to pay Paul.

I suspect your mature readers will be more interested in how they can use and reuse plastics more efficiently. In this regard, it would be useful to engage a forum to seek views on packaging (not just plastics) for more convenient portion sizes to avoid food waste, how to preserve packed goods for a longer life, how to improve open ability of packaging and innovative ways to reuse packaging.

I would also be interested in what your readers have experienced in using paint recently, as I’ve found that for most makes they have light-weighted their steel cans so much that whenever I have to tap the can lid shut after first use, the body buckles, which makes full closure impossible. This is an area where plastics are superior to steel, which can also apply to gardening chemicals, usually packed in carton-board which disintegrate when in a garden shed or green-house. Horses for courses as they say!

Ian Dent