The number of restaurants and famous name fast food outlets supporting the ban on plastic straws is growing daily. What seemed to start as just a murmur, after the exposure on Blue Planet has grown into a wave that is becoming a Tsunami!

In the 1800s, the rye grass straw came into fashion because it was cheap and soft, but it had the unfortunate tendency to mash in liquid. To address these short comings Marvin C Stone patented the modern drinking straw, made of paper in 1888.

It seems ironic that in the 21st Century we are now going back to paper straws after witnessing for ourselves the damage plastic straws are having on our environments, especially our oceans!

A recent news article suggested that the UK is to ban all plastic straws, Q Tips and all single use plastics.

The whole issue of packaging is quite a hot issue at the moment and reflects the passion of consumers to clean up our global world. In the past where transport costs for fresh products were high we ate seasonally and bought locally, so packaging was on a much more minor scale.

As world markets opened up and foodstuffs began to be moved worldwide packaging became important so goods could be shipped in large quantities as cost effectively as possible and to arrive fresh.

As consumers we are powerful to influence the market and for us to make sure that we hold manufacturers accountable to reduce the effect plastics have on our environment. To do this we need to take responsibility to do our own research and not blindly follow the latest headlines. Lets be leaders and not followers.

Let’s take a closer look at the latest buss words in the plastics world and see what they really mean.

Biodegradable Plastics, don’t necessarily break down in the sea, on land or in landfill. There are two main kinds of biodegradable plastics for packaging – compostable and oxo-degradable.

Compostables have to be processed in specific conditions for them to break down and currently there is doubt over the efectiveness of oxo-degradables.

The problem with the above products seems to be the method of disposable which at the moment seems to require incineration or the plastics break down into smaller components but they still leach into the nongovernment and into the food chain.

I am not a scientist but as a consumer, I find a trip to the shops to purchase anything leaves me with a small amount of the product I bought but a large amount of packaging. This I have to separate into recyclable or throw away. The recyclable rubbish needs to be washed and checked that all parts are recyclable so checking lids and labels etc.

It is a timetime-consuming and I am left with a large amount of waste that fills more plastic bags!

We need to take responsibility for what passes through our hands and to think of ways that we can be better consumers using less plastics.

Let’s step up and lead the charge, educate ourselves and influence others.

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