Plastic-free projects on their way

Change is coming for PPE, pint glasses, and coffee cups

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This month has been ‘plastic free’:

Plastic Free July – the campaign starts – Vision Group for Sidmouth

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But, according to a series of articles this week from the i-newspaper, you wouldn’t think so:

Amount of plastic dumped in the ocean every year could almost triple to 29m tonnes by 2040

Sharks in UK coastal waters are eating the plastic in our clothes

River Thames is ‘severely polluted’ with microplastics, scientists warn

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A couple of days ago, their environment correspondent Madeleine Cuff looked at where we are now – with an excerpt from her piece highlighting some of the latest plastic-free projects:

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Change is coming for PPE, pint glasses, and coffee cups

We are in the middle of Plastic Free July, the campaign to live plastic-free for a month – but this year the challenge is tougher than ever. Face masks are now a necessity and disposable gloves are a common sight. The 5p charge for plastic bags has been suspended and a ban on plastic straws has been delayed. Coffee shops have stopped accepting reusable cups, and pubs have been handing out plastic glasses by their hundreds…

But public concern has not disappeared because of the pandemic. A recent Populus poll of 2,100 adults found that 67 per cent were worried about increased plastic waste during lockdown.

One major development is that greener PPE is on its way: designers are experimenting with compostable visors and ventilator masks made from recycled plastics. The Government is also encouraging people to make their own face coverings from cloth.

Efforts are also under way to crack down on plastic pint glasses and takeaway coffee cups. Campaign group City to Sea has launched Contactless Coffee, which offers cafés guidelines on accepting reusable cups safely…

#Plasticfreepints, set up by the consultancy EcoDisco and climate website Ours to Save, is campaigning for pubs to adopt reusables, too. “When you have single-use cups you end up with loads of used cups all over the bar, over the floor, and that’s a much bigger hygiene risk,” argues Hadi Ahmadzadeh, founder of EcoDisco.

Plastic-free food shopping is also back on the agenda. The Food Standards Agency says “there is no need to avoid buying loose fruit and veg” because of Covid-19, while zero-waste service Loop has just launched in the UK…

But we need to keep plastic waste caused by the pandemic in perspective, according to Richard Kirkman of Veolia utility group. Much more important for curbing plastic waste are government plans to standardise recycling systems and create a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles, he argued.

How the pandemic made living plastic-free harder than ever

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photo: Ours to Save on Twitter: “So impressed by @DriftwoodSpars doing #PlasticFreePints in St Agnes, Cornwall. Go and show them some support! #PlasticFreeStAgnes https://t.co/O3Zc3S3u7V” / Twitter

   
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