Friends of the Earth’s position is that recycling is not the answer, depending on the type, plastics can generally only be recycled a few times, and some types not at all.
Each time plastic is recycled its quality is reduced, so before long it has to be disposed of. This means it goes to landfill (or worse, is incinerated), but too often it escapes to pollute the environment before that point.
Some forms of recycling, such as when plastic bottles are turned into things like fleece jackets cause plastic pollution through abrasion. This is when plastic microfibers are washed and worn off the product in the laundry and end up being flushed into the oceans where they can get into the food chain.
The solution to the plastics pollution crisis is to dramatically reduce how much plastic we are using.
I was pleased to be at the Pre-Parliament event with Chris Matheson before the joint Friends of the Earth and Womens Institute draft bill was read. The bill proposed an ‘End Plastics Pollution’ law, this will guide government action to phase out all but the safest and most essential plastics. Let’s hope it moves forward quickly….