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Let’s redefine what ‘green’ means

Posted on 23 July 2014

The problem with the ‘green’ agenda is that it was set in biodegradable cement many decades ago – at a time when ‘green’ meant hemp, boy scouts collecting newspapers and a lentil-based diet.

Times have changed but the ‘knit your own yoghurt’ agenda remains largely intact despite it being both fanciful and as unsustainable as the thinking it tried to challenge. Yes, recycling is essential – for both environmental and economic reasons – but what yesterday’s greens still don’t get is that new technology, rather than a shunning of progress, will help husband valuable resources.

And right at the centre of it all sits plastic – still the poster child for ‘everything that’s wrong with modern society’.

Next gen polymer science will deliver cheap and powerful solar cells, lightweight electric vehicles and their batteries, high performance building insulation and new ranges of low-power personal devices. But say ‘plastic’ and the first thing that springs to the mind of an old school green is an image of a carrier bag… probably chocking a cute seal pup.

It’s almost as if the plastics industry wants to pollute our oceans!

Tabloid lunacy, ill-informed media reporting in general and a wholesale shunning of facts in favour of home-spun bon mots about saving the planet using toast crusts and compost has left our industry facing an up-hill struggle.

So the next time a hippy activist starts spouting green twaddle really punch ‘em out. When they wake up they’ll be attached to a whole array of medical devices… using lots and lots of plastic. At that point see if they’re prepared to shun polymer science in favour of the old ways.

The only way we’ll ever manage to change the minds of the green lobby is one tree hugger at a time. That might take its toll on our knuckles but in the end we’ll have beaten some sense into them, won’t we?

Who’s up for the fight?


I fully agree - plastics are the greenest materials in terms of a sustainable way of life, but customers should apreciate their potential life cycle for complete greeniness, and the 'R's (Requirements) from customers: Refuse - Use only what needs to be used Reduce - Just enough packaging (or material) for the product Reuse - again and again and again, when no need to discard. Recycle - Which is reuse for the material, if not the product Remove - The only place where degradable have and edge, but only when the previous 'R's are not achievable...

- 27 July 2014 - Yori

I am starting to think this man should stand for President.

- 26 July 2014 - Geoff

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