Plastic waste is now a hot topic with everyone from David Attenborough to the PM on down. This, of course, has generated a lot of headlines and a lot of national press finger-pointing - quite a lot of it at the food industry and retailers.
Gary Pilsworth, who runs Offley Stores in the Hertfordshire village of Great Offley, thinks it’s high time the national newspapers looked to putting their own houses in order regarding plastic waste. He wondered how many newspapers with their Saturday and Sunday supplements are bagged up and sent to shops?
The answer is millions. Gary says that in the countryside surrounding he found a hedgehog in one such bag and has dug fish out of others in the local pond.
I did a little research for him and found that six major titles accounted for four and a half million copies on Sunday alone.
As this is being written Gary was doing a lot more research and was in the process of drawing up a spreadsheet. “I hope my figures are not correct,” he says, “because it’s staggering, colossal.” (His figures were higher than mine so he is trying to verify them - it’s really not all that easy to do.)
He was also attempting to measure the actual amount of plastic used. “And it’s acres and acres of plastic.”
About 300 million tons of plastic is produced globally each year. Only about 10% of that is recycled. Plastic takes more than 400 years to degrade so most of it is still around. We all have a part in this and should therefore all own up… and then do our bit.