Plastic Packaging Replacements May be Worse for the Environment

By Gary Cutlack on at

A pressure group pushing positive environmental thoughts has confused themselves and everyone else by declaring some of the nation's eco activities misguided, warning that replacing plastic wraps with other alternatives may have unforeseen poorer consequences.

Replacing plastic bottles with glass ones, for example. Sounds good, but glass is significantly heavier, so transporting it around the country produces higher emissions. That's the sort of clanging horror fact found in Green Alliance's report [PDF], which surveyed supermarket staff and members of the public and found everyone's a bit confused about what compostable really means in terms of plastic replacements, and that the supermarkets are binning plastic without analysing the environmental impact of the replacements, and some are using environmental pretences to gain a "competitive advantage" over competitors.

In short, it's a bit of a mess, and Green Alliance wants the government to put proper policies in place to stop short-term piecemeal plans potentially doing more bad than good. Libby Peake from the Green Alliance said: "The public are right to be outraged about plastic pollution. But what we do not want is, a few years down the line, for them to be outraged about new environmental problems caused by the alternatives. We need to address the root of the problem, our throwaway society." [Green Alliance via BBC]