The British Plastics Federation has taken part in a debate for Sky News’ Ocean Rescue Campaign, to respond to a documentary screened earlier this week (January 24th) covering plastic pollution in the seas.
Barry Turner, Director of the BPF's Plastics and Flexible Packaging Group, joined chair, Adam Boulton; Louise Heaps, the Chief Adviser on Oceans for WWF-UK; pop musician and environmental campaigner, Kimberly Wyatt; and MP, Mary Creagh, Chair of the Government’s Environmental Audit Committee, to discuss ‘A Plastic Tide’ part of Sky’s ‘Ocean Rescue’ campaign.
In the televised debate he said: “Plastics is chosen by retailers for well thought out technical, economic and environmental reasons. Plastics packaging uses less energy to produce than other materials and significantly extends the life of food, dramatically reducing food wastage and thereby saving resources.”
Turner told the audience that recycling rates for plastics are an impressive growth story and that plastic bottle recycling is reaching 60 per cent. He said significant strides have been made on recycling of pots, tubs and trays and other previously unrecycled plastic products. He stated that more work needs to be done to ensure comprehensive collection of all used plastics packaging to ensure the plastics recycling success story can continue at the current rate.
Sky News has launched a campaign to raise awareness of ocean plastic pollution
He also said that behavioural change is key and education will play a major role in improving the current situation. Turner highlighted work by the BPF and Plastics Europe on the CSI: Litter Challenge to encourage school children to think about the consequences of littering and various initiatives run by HubBub including their 'Neat Streets' campaign and a scheme to clean up the Thames.
The BPF is calling on all stakeholders to engage in practical programmes that represent a real determined effort to tackle littering and to prevent the leakage of used packaging made from all materials into the environment. “It is important to remember oceans have no borders and we encourage all countries to ensure they have comprehensive collection infrastructure to collect plastics for re-use and recycling as well as educational campaigns to influence behavioural change,” it said in a statement.