The packaging of the things that we buy, especially food, is causing a growing number of problems:
1. Vital raw materials and energy are used in its manufacture.
2. The production process generates waste heat that adds to global warming.
3. Disposing of packaging by recycling is only a partial solution – considerable amounts of energy are used to turn waste into reusable items
4. Waste not recycled needs to be disposed of safely. Putting it into landfill sites is only a short term solution – many local authorities, including Cumbria County Council, face a shortage of sites. The sites themselves are also often the cause of atmospheric and ground pollution.
5. Plastic packaging presents these special problems:
* Production of plastic uses scarce petroleum-based materials
* Plastic is a source of enormous quantities of litter around the world
* Plastic degrades into smaller and smaller particles – it can then enter the food chain of all creatures – including humans
* Once ingested – by animals and people - some of the chemicals used in making plastic act as poisons that can disrupt normal bodily process related to physical development, brain formation and sexual reproduction.
* Plastic bags, plastic film and hard plastic boxes used in packaging ALL contribute to these problems. Hence the need to consider ways of reducing our use of all plastic packaging – and eliminating it wherever possible.
Attempts are already being made to reduce the use of, and even abolish, plastic bags in many countries and localities around the world. A good early example is the levy on plastic bags introduced throughout the Republic of Ireland in 2002. Since then over twenty countries around the world have followed suit.
At a more local level, many towns and cities are taking action to deal with the problem of plastic bags. These include the city of San Francisco and state of California in the USA, a number of towns in Australia and the village of Modbury in Devon here in England – they have all banned plastic bags!
For all these reasons CWIK are working to reduce the amount of waste generated by Kendal and want to assess the amount of support for doing so – we are keen to find out what YOU think about the amount of food packaging and plastic bags used by shops and supermarkets in Kendal.
Please take a few minutes to fill in our survey – the results will be used to plan our next steps.
Thankyou for your help.