Tag Archives: recycling straws

Marine waste and the plastic straw

plastic strawsIt seems that barely a day goes by without another article in the news claiming that plastic straws are littering the UK coastlines, affecting wildlife and upsetting locals. The following article from BBC News (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-42607662) discusses how the Marine Conservation Society is backing a proposed ban (by the Final Straw campaign) on single use plastic straws in Scotland.

The goal here is a sound one in principle, there is litter on UK coastlines and it does indeed affect wildlife; there’s no disputing this. As retailers of single use disposables we’re keen to promote the ethical and responsible use of catering disposables, indeed a large percentage of our range is now biodegradable for this reason.

There is unfortunately a fundamental disconnect between the action being taken to remove these straws and the actual cause of the pollution. The action assumes that because the waste exists it’s a foregone conclusion that it will end up being dumped in the ocean.  Surely a better solution to this would be to target the irresponsible dumping of our waste into the oceans? Sadly pumping waste into the sea at offshore locations is often chosen as the cheapest method of waste disposal, however the capability and infrastructure already exists to process this waste. If sorted properly, a huge percentage can be recycled or repurposed. Studies in America have actually shown that the most efficient way of dealing with waste that cannot be processed is combustion (https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/jun/14/green-waste-distribution-methods-recycling-plastic-oil-epa) ; waste can be used as a fuel, incinerated and turned into usable electricity.

Instead, we seem to be focusing on selective reduction of specific types of waste (such as plastic straws) over reassessing how the country treats waste. Perhaps a more holistic approach is required for tackling pollution on our coastlines?

Plastic straws can be found on our site at: https://innsupplies.com/disposable/drinking-straws