April 7, 2020

The Editor speaks: Our plastics ban is ludicrous


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Colin Wilson

We have published today a Press Release re- “the Single-Use Plastics (SUP) Stakeholder Committee is in agreement to recommend restrictive legislation on certain single-use plastics in the Cayman Islands effective at the start of January 2021.”

The Release continues: it “will include legislation to restrict certain single-use plastic items such as: single-use check out shopping bags, polystyrene take away containers, plastic straws, plastic stirrers, and plastic cotton swabs. The Committee will continue to actively consider whether other single-use plastic items will be subject to legislation.”

What’s wrong with that you are probably asking?

Answer – it is ludicrous..

Just look on every shelf in every shop. What is around all the products that require packaging?


And not the thin plastic that we are banning. The much more heavier plastic that really does take years and years to finally destruct.

And what is the alternative to the all these plastics and polystyrene that are going to be banned?

Paper, cardboard? We will have to cut down more trees to compensate. Now that would be even more of a disaster as it is already happening with all the illegal logging going on.

What we are contemplating with our ban can be likened to say all the fish in the sea are slowly poisoning us. What, therefore, do we do about it? Based on what our government (along with most of the world), we form a committee to meet three times and announce we are banning tadpoles and minnows because THEY are slowly killing us. And what about the bigger fish?

If all the fish was killing us shouldn’t we ban all fish? of course we would. They would all be destroyed. And so should all the plastics if this is such a big problem.

So what can be done to replace our plastic problem? This is what my Internet research has found.

You can replace plastic straws apparently with PASTA ones.

The cups is easy. Bring your own or buy a non-disposable one at the store with your coffee/tea/juice that you can either purchase or hand it back (if you don’t want to go home with it).

Plastic water bottles are the easiest to replace. My wife now uses a metallic vacuum one that even has her name on it and telephone number if she loses it. She has – TWICE! She has both times got it back. And unlike the plastic ones these keep the water or juices cold much, much longer.

Plastic bags at the grocery shops – bring your own bag or purchase one at the counter. When I grew up everybody brought their own shopping bag.

As for all the heavy plastic packaging around every single item you buy, it is totally unnecessary. THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE NUMBER ONE ITEM TO BE BANNED!!!!!

Why isn’t it?

There seems to be no answer.

However, if it was we could still keep our plastic straws. Actually, we really don’t need the plastic straws. Drink from the bottle or receptacle (plastic if it is going to be washed and reused). If you insist on drinking from a straw use a metallic one that some people say is not a good idea because you could use it to stab someone you don’t like with it in their eye. It would seem to be OK to still use the plastic pen holder you are using to write with.

These are some of the best alternatives to plastic I have found:

Stainless steel, Glass, Platinum silicone, Beeswax-coated cloth, Natural fibre cloth, Pottery and other Ceramics

Dis I hear you mention “BioPlastics”?

Unfortunately, most bioplastics don’t break down in home composts, landfills, or loose in the environment. Most also require commercial composting facilities, which aren’t always available to the average consumer. They can also contaminate municipal recycling programs when people unknowingly add them to their recycling. Many bioplastics even contain significant amounts of conventional plastic.

Sorry SUP group. What you are proposing is ludicrous. For all the above reasons.

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