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Embrace moves to ditch plastics


PHILIP HUNTE

Embrace moves to ditch plastics

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BARBADIANS SHOULD EMBRACE the efforts to rid the country of plastic bags. Plastics are organic polymers, the cheap derivatives, usually synthetic, of the petrochemical and coal industries. In recent times some have been made from the polylactics.

We find plastics in almost everything. They are resistant to corrosion, durable and low cost. In the form of bags, they can be made in diverse colours and are weather resistant.

Developed countries have long started efforts to recycle plastics. Vehicle parts, even the high-end luxury vehicles, have many plastic components as a result of their ability to be moulded and the cost factor and resistance to shock. Since their introduction, it is estimated that 20 billion tonnes have been produced globally, the majority of them in recent decades.

Efforts to reduce the use of plastics, especially in bags, should be supported in Barbados. It is possible for shoppers to take home several plastic bags filled with groceries on every occasion that they do their shopping. The onus is thus on the retailer to supply durable bags to shoppers, even at a small fee.

These customers can then use the bags repeatedly during future visits to the store and reduce the amount of plastic going to the landfill. This move can serve as a loyalty tool.

Charging a small fee for the plastic bags is the tip of the iceberg, although some customers are annoyed. I have seen an irate customer leave groceries at the point of sale when she was told that she had to pay for the plastic bag.

Another alternative can be biodegradable bags that decompose after a while. Some are available, but in the bigger forms, for storing garbage, and some high-end retailers use these in their daily transactions.

Couldn’t these be downsized for shopping purposes on a wider scale? In the end, they may be as cheap as the traditional plastic bag.

Most of our water comes from our aquifers. Some of it is polluted by extraneous material.

Our fish, turtles and other sea-dwelling animals are threatened by the proliferation of plastics. This is the 21 century and most forward-thinking countries are trying to reduce the use of plastics as a result of its environmental effect, the pollution and stench, especially at landfills, and the threat it poses to water resources.

These are our concerns and businesses have a part to play in helping us to find a solution.

– PHILIP HUNTE

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