What’s behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference?

Humankind has produced unfathomable quantities of plastic for decades, first passing the 100m tonne mark in the early 1990s. But for some reason it is only very recently that people have really begun to care.

The result is a worldwide revolt against plastic, one that crosses both borders and traditional political divides. In 2016, a Greenpeace petition for a UK-wide plastic microbead ban hit 365,000 signatures in just four months, eventually becoming the largest environmental petition ever presented to government. Protest groups from the US to South Korea have dumped piles of what they say is unwanted and excessive plastic packaging at supermarkets. In 2018 angry UK customers posted so many crisp packets back to their manufacturers, in protest at the fact they weren’t recyclable, that the postal service was overwhelmed. Prince Charles has given speeches about the dangers of plastic, while Kim Kardashian has posted on Instagram about the “plastic crisis”, and claims to have given up straws.

At the highest levels of government the plastic panic can resemble a scrambled response to a natural disaster, or a public health crisis … A great wave of public anger is pushing those in power to eliminate a single substance from our collective life – and with big commitments already secured, the signs seem promising.

Read the full article

by Stephen Buranyi at The Guardian: visit https://www.theguardian.com/environment for the full article covering the history and the growth of the plastics industry and how we need to face up to how interconnected environmental problems are: to recognise that plastic isn’t just an isolated problem that we can banish from our lives, but simply the most visible product of our past half-century of rampant consumption.

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