While a lot of good has been done in the last few years to raise awareness of the problems associated with single-use plastic and its impact on the environment, it seems as though the pandemic is causing issues of its own in this regard, with the UK ban on plastic straws and stirrers delayed by six months because of coronavirus-related supply chain disruptions.
In addition, the decision on plastic packaging tax has been pushed back by three months, while charges for plastic shopping bags for online deliveries have been waived, the Financial Times reports.
Demand for plastic is increasing at the moment, as well, with the British Plastics Federation saying that suppliers of packaging for bleach, food and drink, medication and handwash are now working at record capacities, while hand sanitiser bottles and lids are in particularly high demand.
Jacob Hayler from the Environmental Services Association explained that some of the single-use plastics that are currently in demand will be difficult to recycle later down the line.
“Particularly in medical settings . . . it has always been recognised that there is a role for single use plastics in those settings for maintaining hygiene. With some of these, plastic films, flexible films, or mixed plastics, it can be more challenging to find ways to recycle some of that stuff,” he went on to say.
If you’re keen to reduce your usage of single-use plastic, buying reusable products is a very good place to begin, such as stainless steel straws, metal water bottles and so on.
Remember that going zero waste is a journey and you can’t do it all at once, but small steps like these can lead on to bigger leaps… and very soon, you could be leading a much more sustainable life, one that doesn’t have a big impact on the planet.