* Cleanzine_logo_3a.jpgCleanzine: your weekly cleaning and hygiene industry newsletter 21st September 2023 Issue no. 1081

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One reason I shop as much as I can in local markets – and particularly farmers markets, is because so little of what’s on display is wrapped in plastics. OK so the soft fruit may not make it home in perfect condition in a paper bag but in my mind it’s worth it and somehow it feels healthier and tastes fresher too – similar to how it did when I was a child and plastics hadn’t entered the food chain. We’ve known for decades the damage this type of plastic wreaks on the planet along with our health throughout its lifecycle… Plastics particles are now found in the air, in drinking water and in our blood – yet instead of its use diminishing, it’s grown. Why have we allowed this to happen? Because it is of course, down to us, as consumers, don’t you think? Some of our supermarkets, for example, offer a choice, whereby we can pick up a conveniently-sized plastic bag of, say, carrots or bananas or select our own from a huge box. But why give us the option? And why, I have to ask, is the packaged option generally cheaper, which means we’re actively encouraged through convenience and our pockets to help pollute the planet while damaging our bodies? And why wrap a swede, or a dense lettuce such as Iceberg, in plastic film for goodness sake?  How can we have got to the stage where the world produces almost 400m tonnes of plastic, (with an estimated 12-14m tonnes allowed to escape into our seas) EVERY YEAR? 
Although I don’t yet have all the details, I’m delighted that real headway appears to have been made at last week’s Global Plastics Treaty meeting Paris, in thrashing out the basics of a legally binding treaty aimed at reducing the amount of plastics entering our lives and making what does, more ‘palatable’. Encouragingly, it involved country representatives from more than 150 nations, along with others boasting a real and in-depth knowledge of the issues we face in making the necessary changes and why these changes must be made. Thankfully, it wasn’t just about recycling, but focused on the whole lifecycle of plastics and our need to phase the stuff out. And while that’s happening, to regulate the hazardous chemicals currently baked into it, while carefully and thoroughly managing microplastic pollution in an attempt to reduce the damage.  
With the next round of talks scheduled to take place in Kenya later this year, the final agreement planned for late 2024 and the new treaty expected to be in force as early as 2025, things are moving surprisingly quickly. In the meantime though, we can all play our part by boycotting plastic where we can, and recycling responsibly that which we can’t avoid.


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Jan Hobbs

8th June 2023

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