The British Plastics Federation (BPF) has released a response to the BBC programme ‘War on Plastic’.
The show, presented by celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Anita Rani, looked at the ways in which plastic was used and, in some cases, overused, while highlighting now consumers could reduce their plastic consumption.
Commenting on the programme, the BPF said in a statement: “The BBC’s War on Plastic programme highlighted many important issues and clearly taps into the concerns of a lot of people. Addressing many of these issues aligns with the desires of the plastics and recycling industries, namely to reduce plastic waste and improve our recycling infrastructure.”
But the comment continued: “It is right and encouraging that people are showing concern for the environment and the impacts all of our actions have. We can all make a difference. People should educate themselves about the vital role packaging plays to help them make informed decisions about the packaging and products they do or do not need in their lives. Industry, government and local authorities need to work together to simplify recycling for people across the entire UK.”
While the show looked at some cases of plastic abuse in packaging solutions, the BPF further outlined that in the vast majority of cases, packaging solutions are carefully selected with the goal of delivering the best cost/benefit.
Such decisions take into account a series of factors, including weight, bulk, water use, distance/logistics, CO2 emissions of making or growing the product and prevention of spoiling to reduce waste.
As pointed out in the programme, there are alternatives to plastic packaging. But in most cases, those are heavier and bulkier than the equivalent plastic solution. In 2016, a related study found that switching to an alternative material could quadruple the ‘environmental cost’.
In closing the BPF noted: “We understand that things are changing. But plastic will – and should – continue to play a vital role in all our lives going forward. As society learns how to use plastic more intelligently, we also need to remember to value plastic.”