West Swindon Parish Council

Cllr Mike Burtenshaw has written an article sharing his thoughts on the problem of plastic waste.

Recycling Problem

Recycling feels good. Gives us a chance to control our habits for the benefit of the planet, or does it? Tons of our recyclables still end up in landfills or our oceans. A recent study shows that only 10 percent of the world’s plastics is recycled. Recycling is often another word for an expensive journey that a plastic bottle takes on its way to the ocean via Indonesia, it used to be China until they reached the point where they could not move for plastic bags.

We have been conned by the Petro-Chemical companies who have convinced us that it is our responsibility, true they have invested a small amount of money into waste management but at the same time increasing their profits producing more and more plastic products. If the answer to plastics has always been to recycle, why do we still have such a big plastics pollution problem. This is an industry sleight of hand, shifting the blame of plastics pollution onto the consumer. If a Sprite bottle washes up on a beach the Coca-Cola company does not get fined but rather the cry goes up, “why wasn’t that recycled”.

In West Swindon we are blessed with many teams of diligent litter pickers who are constantly clearing our verges and parks. There is a constant battle against the anti-social behaviour of passing motorists throwing out their rubbish and lorry drivers parked for the night. No praise is too high for our litter pickers and before disposing of our waste we should consider how to do it resourcefully and eco-friendly. Thanks to our schools taking a positive step, our children are already showing a more responsible attitude to litter and the protection of our wildlife. We should all take a leaf out of their book and in the case of plastics look to put the blame where it firmly belongs, the manufacturers, we should insist on alternatives and demand a plastic ban.

Cllr Mike Burtenshaw

bottle recycle

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