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Interest in doorstep delivery surge as fears of the plastic peril deepen.

February 10, 2018

 

Hanover Dairies continue to see high demand in glass milk-bottle
doorstep sales as consumers are set to change their buying habits.
In the 1960s, high-density polyethylene plastic was introduced with some
fanfare. Just one of the many plastics to be introduced over that decade. We
were lead to believe that we were on the threshold of a new era in human
progress and cited by some, as important as the combustion engine and the
wheel. Plastics became popular with both manufacturers and customers due
to their lightweight nature, resistance to breakage and were, of course,
cheap. The new plastics quickly replaced (the humble milk bottle was one of
them) a non-toxic, reusable and recyclable natural material we all know as
glass. This new era became known as the plastics revolution.
History teaches us that revolutions, no matter how enlightening, can have a
dark side. What this revolution did not foresee was the dire effect it would
have on our health and environment. In less than 50 years, this man-made
toxic and non biodegradable substance, has lead to the systematic choking of
the world’s oceans and waterways including the killing of countless marine
animals. The effects of this pollution can be clearly seen closer to home, as
the results of the Marine Conservation Society’s annual beach cleanup in
2015 showed that the amount of rubbish dumped on UK beaches rose by a
third compared with the previous year. The number of plastic drinks bottles
found were up 43 per cent on 2014 levels.
Plastics on our beaches, whether washed up or the result of lazy weekends,
is only the tip of the iceberg. The UK alone produces 31 million tonnes of
waste per year. Lets put that into context, its equivalent to the weight of three
and a half million double-decker buses, a queue of which would go around
the world two and a half times. But only 17 per cent of this was collected for
recycling (source: defra.gov.uk). This figure is low compared to some of our
neighbouring EU countries, some recycling over 50 per cent of their waste.
Most of what we don’t recycle goes into landfill in the UK, a small amount is
incinerated and the rest we ship to countries like India and China, or we used
to, the Chinese no longer want our waste.
But it gets worse, according to the figures compiled by the Co-op from the
Recoup UK Household Plastics Collection survey. Of the 1.5 million tonnes of
recyclable plastic waste collected from UK consumers in 2015, only a third,
500,000 tonnes was actually recycled, the rest was simply dumped. But we
are not alone in blame, many of the world’s countries contribute to an issue

that is as important as global warming and just as threatening to our very
existence.
A recent presentation by Santa Barbara’s National Centre for Ecological
Analysis made for sober reading. They estimate 4.8 million metric tonnes of
plastic waste gets dumped into the world's oceans each year, and this
number is just a conservative estimate. The researchers believe the real
amount could be as high as 12.7 million metric tonnes. When you take into
account that plastic bags can take 200 years to decompose, plastic bottles up
to 450 years, and fishing line, 600 years (source: Trash Travels), the true
enormity of the problem comes chillingly into focus.
It would seem that recycling alone, as alarming as it sounds, will not be
enough. We have to change habits. A good example of this was the dramatic
drop in plastic bag usage in 2016 (source: The Guardian, 30 Jul 2016). The
number of single-use bags handed out dropped to 500 million in the first six
months since the 5p charge was introduced. Compared with a whopping 7
billion the previous year, that’s an 85 per cent drop in plastic bags in our
environment.
The public outcry over this issue has motivated the Prime Minister to action, a
plan to eradicate avoidable plastic waste by 2042. Let’s hope that date is not
too late. The wording ‘eradicate avoidable plastic waste’ is interesting, as
most food and drink plastic packaging is completely avoidable. This will have
huge repercussions on the big supermarkets, that of late, have done little to
address any of these pressing issues.
In the closing second decade of the new millennium, do we really have the
time to wait for governments, big retailers and the food industry to make
small, incremental and slow changes? When we can simply stop buying
single use plastic containers, go back to glass and avoid over packaged food
products by buying loose fruit and vegetables the way we used to from
grocers or markets and meat from the butchers without the plastic tray
destined for the landfill as soon as we get home. Big retailers and the food
industry faced with falling revenues will be forced to act, attached as they are
to the bottom line. However they will argue that this change will impact on our
pocket, but this argument is misleading. An example of this is supermarkets
sell milk cheaper in plastic than your traditional milkman, but this saving
comes at a huge cost to the environment. If a pint of milk delivered in a glass
bottle to your doorstep costs X with less harm to the environment, then milk
costs X.
Hanover Dairies are passionately committed to making a difference in the
environmental issue that now faces our planet. Most of the work is still ahead
of us, but we can start with simple changes to the way we shop and in turn
apply pressure on the big retailers and food industry forcing change in the

unnecessary use of plastic packaging, that they keep on supplying us. While
you’re at it,
why not give us a call on 0191 4149300 and we will deliver your milk in a
reusable and recyclable glass bottle.
The plastics revolution may be over but the plastics peril is now a frightening
reality. Let’s make sure our planet does not become a plastics graveyard.

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Unit 2, Blaydon ParkChainbridge RoadBlaydonTyne and WearNE21 5ST

Email: enquiries@hanoverdairies.co.uk

Phone: 0191 414 9300

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