plastic waste

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plastic waste

Postby scullion » April 17th, 2018, 1:29 pm

it has been so reassuring, the way people have been stunned, into some levels of action, by the revelations of 'the blue planet 2' regarding plastic waste.
not before time.
having done beach cleans for a few decades, now, i have seen at first hand how the profile of beach litter has changed - from the plastics discarded down the loo, those things thrown 'away' by holidaymakers/beach goers, and the flotsam and jetsam that is obviously washed off the decks of fishing boats. this selection is still there but over the last number of years the addition of 'nurdles' has increased. these are plastic 'beads' originally made for moulding plastic objects in factories but which are now being manufactured by the sea from plastic waste. they are made into little beads in the same way that the rocks are tumbled into pebbles and can be seen, in their, often, minuscule form by being floated out of the sand in a bucket of water. this problem will take a very, very long time to 'go away'.
in the mean time -
i lament the days when paper bags were the way to wrap food and sainsbury's had stronger paper bags available before the dreaded plastic carrier bag completely took over. thank heavens that use of the latter has been reduced albeit by taxation.
i'm confused at the way people put into plastic bags things like bananas and other things with hard skins, at supermarkets, and why bodyshop changed from having re-fillable bottles for many of their products to one use.
i have sat and read this this morning. it covers many of the ways i have tried, over the years, to reduce our consumption - including the use of tiffin boxes when going for a takeaway or as a way of taking food for eating away from home - and my question is -
can this problem best be tackled by taxing/fining supermarkets who cause/continue the problem or by affecting the consumer by education/ charging them for unrecycleable plastic waste etc?
which would be the most effective - top down or bottom up?
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Re: plastic waste

Postby Suelle » April 17th, 2018, 1:55 pm

I think one of the most effective things would be to develop more ways of using recyclable plastic, and then letting us put all types of plastics into our domestic recycling systems!

Plastic are so convenient that their use isn't going to stop, but it's ridiculous that something as simple as take-away coffee cups, as one example, can't be recycled.
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Re: plastic waste

Postby StokeySue » April 17th, 2018, 2:04 pm

Yes
By which I mean I think the issue needs tackling from all possible angles
The advantage of top down is that hopefully there will be a domino effect as more governments get involved, and that's probably the best way of getting the big coporations on side and on track reasonably fast

But we also need people to quite literally keep their own houses in order, and we also need the pester power of consumers to improve what's in the supply chain, and to demand more recyclable / degradable stuff and better recycling facilities

scullion wrote:i have sat and read this this morning.


It's quite a big pdf and not exactly low vision friendly so I mayneed to pass on that

One thing that's been puzzling me all morning, there has been a lot of news coverage of recycling, with special reference to the PETase enzyme, and all the campaigners keep saying that you can't make new bottles by recycling old ones, you have to down cycle. But I am sure that when Gregg Wallace did The Factory on Ribena, we actually saw PET bottles recycled into more Ribena bottles?
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Re: plastic waste

Postby mum-at-the-oven » April 17th, 2018, 2:18 pm

There is much talk of introducing return money back machines.

However our Tesco had a huge one in their car park where you earned Tesco club card points for every item of plastic, glass and tin/aluminium which was very popular. Unfortunately it kept breaking down so Tesco got rid of it!

That was about 10 years ago!!
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Re: plastic waste

Postby StokeySue » April 17th, 2018, 2:39 pm

Oh I'd forgotten those mato!
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Re: plastic waste

Postby Meganthemog » April 17th, 2018, 2:41 pm

My last supermarket delivery even though I request no carrier bags came wrapped. The delivery guy patiently unwrapped all my shopping - bubble wrap on the bottles and carrier bags and took them back to the depot. He said that he'd complained at the amount of extra packaging that is put onto the goods before they are dispatched, but said that nothing ever changed. He said that even if he takes wine carriers back to be re-used they are simply put into the recycling when they are perfectly good to use again.
If we continue to accept our fruit and veg shrink wrapped and packaged then the supermarkets will continue to do it.
We too regularly do beach clean-ups - last week's haul included a lot of used gun cartridges :terrified:
I was shocked when we were in Costa Rica that local families would come to the beach and bring a picnic - then they'd leave all their rubbish on the beach when they left! Shocking.
Years ago when we were in Java our hotel employees were seen emptying the rubbish bins into the sea. We complained to the management who just shrugged and said that's what they always did. We booked ourselves out.
It really is a world-wide problem and I wonder if other countries are really trying as hard as we are.
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Re: plastic waste

Postby scullion » April 17th, 2018, 3:41 pm

StokeySue wrote:It's quite a big pdf and not exactly low vision friendly so I mayneed to pass on that

yes, it is quite long and the start of the report is in some rather unhelpful colours but if you go down to the start of the executive summary it is mainly black on white thereafter - if you find yourself in need of a read!
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Re: plastic waste

Postby Amber » April 17th, 2018, 8:48 pm

I’m still using Body Shop refillable bottles from about ten years ago.


:shock: Actually, when I do the maths, it’s probably from about twenty five (or more!) years ago!
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Re: plastic waste

Postby scullion » April 17th, 2018, 11:30 pm

i use them, too, but unfortunately not with bodyshop refill. i think they disappeared with anita roddick or the sale of the company (2006/2007) to l'oreal.
it seems it is being sold again to a more ethical rooted company this time. maybe re-fills will come back ...
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Re: plastic waste

Postby Rainbow » April 17th, 2018, 11:32 pm

In Australia there is a lot of recycling and some States banned one-use plastic bags in SM's years ago. Queensland (where we are now) is just catching up!!

However, our plastic waste has been sold to China who recycle and re-use it - up until now :(
They have said they have enough of their own and don't want any more - so apparently there are now great stockpiles of plastic here that no-one knows what to do with :evil:
The Govt. should step in and set up recycling depots, make things from the recycled plastic etc. but probably won't!!
So it may all end up in landfill :o
Really angry about it as so many people do the right thing and recycle, but there doesn't seem much point at the moment!!
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Re: plastic waste

Postby suffolk » April 18th, 2018, 7:11 am

Sadly making things from recycled plastic can add to the problem ... we've probably all got something made from fleece or another fabric made from recycled plastic ... but every time we wash it tiny particles of plastic are flushed into our drains and onwards into our rivers and seas.
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Re: plastic waste

Postby mum-at-the-oven » April 18th, 2018, 9:08 am

I remember seeing somewhere - possibly fb - that recycled plastics were being used in parts of India for road surfacing.

Anyone know if there's any truth or a possibility for this?
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Re: plastic waste

Postby miss mouse » April 18th, 2018, 9:38 am

Crushed glass goes into our tarmac for roads, not a lot though. I haven't heard of the India roads and plastic.
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Re: plastic waste

Postby Rainbow » April 18th, 2018, 10:55 pm

I saw a video on FB saying a UK startup is using plastic to make road surfacing - not sure which country it's being used in, though. Looks like a great idea.
It was linked from 'Our Planet' on FB
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Re: plastic waste

Postby suffolk » April 19th, 2018, 7:03 am

But when the plastic road surface breaks down, as undoubtedly it will, tiny bits of plastic will wash into our watercourses and rivers and out into the sea ... It's a huge huge problem and recycling has hitherto unforseen consequences.
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Re: plastic waste

Postby miss mouse » April 19th, 2018, 2:42 pm

The Scandinavians and I think France burn the waste in Combined Heat and Power stations. Wouldn't that be a good solution?
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Re: plastic waste

Postby StokeySue » April 19th, 2018, 3:05 pm

There's quite a lot of interest it seems in using plastic in various ways rather than extracting more fossil fuel. Need to be very careful about the chemical make up of the products of combustion, and of course it's not renewable energy
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Re: plastic waste

Postby scullion » April 19th, 2018, 3:24 pm

miss mouse wrote:The Scandinavians and I think France burn the waste in Combined Heat and Power stations. Wouldn't that be a good solution?

that's only a (relatively) short term solution for the problem, really, unless the incinerators can be repurposed to burn other 'waste' - which is still not a renewable/planet friendly solution; plastic has to be burned at higher temperatures to prevent the production of poisonous gasses and particles being released into the air.
a longer term solution is to produce/use less (or increase the production of plant based, compostable plastics) and save the oil for more necessary things - we are predicted to reach peak oil in the next few years so the need for an alternative is inevitable - better sooner than too late.

my partner is angry - he finds he is agreeing with most of what michael gove is saying with his minister of the environment hat on - it's an ill wind...
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Re: plastic waste

Postby scullion » April 19th, 2018, 3:26 pm

you beat me to it while i was distracted, sue.
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Re: plastic waste

Postby miss mouse » April 19th, 2018, 5:10 pm

scullion wrote:a longer term solution is to produce/use less


Yes, but plastic is cheap, who is going to give that up readily? Certainly not the oil and gas billionaires, what are they going to do? rocket off to another planet? Why are we, the end-users, being blamed? I am sure that I am not the only only one who has campaigned for recycling for decades. A futile gesture.

'Inside Science' R4 today quite interesting re plastic. I missed bits, visitors and things to do.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09z1ddm
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Re: plastic waste

Postby scullion » April 21st, 2018, 10:23 am

people are going to have to give it up, to a large extent, as oil decreases, as i said.
the end users aren't the only ones being 'targeted' - the manufacturers of drinking straws, stirrers, and cotton bud sticks are being 'targeted' right now and not before time - they're a totally unnecessary use of plastic.
it's definitely not a futile gesture. going back to paper straws, wooden cotton bud sticks (or a piece of cotton wool rolled round a hair grip as my dad used to do), paper bags, glass bottles, papier mâché food trays shouldn't be such a problem, surely? we adapted from them so i shouldn't think it would take long to adapt back - and it will have to happen sometime in the future, and for the sake of our children and grandchildren etc, the sooner the better. my partner and i don't eat fish but we'll go and pick up plastic from our local beaches to make a minuscule difference for those who do and for the state of the sea.
i read once, on the side of a bodyshop lorry, the slogan 'if you think you're too small to make a difference just think about a mosquito' - or words to that effect. we can all have an effect - many a mickle maks a muckle.

and how much improvement in the condition of grapes has there been since they've been put in rigid plastic boxes over when they were sold as a bunch in a shallow paper 'boat'?
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Re: plastic waste

Postby suffolk » April 21st, 2018, 10:27 am

Do you remember that for a short while plastic egg cartons replaced the mashed up paper ones ... but the eggs broke inside them ... now everyone uses the mashed up paper ones again :D
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Re: plastic waste

Postby Ratatouille » April 21st, 2018, 1:02 pm

Recycling is done/organized fairly well here . However the French drink far far too much bottled water. I suppose it started in the olden days when the water supply was less than good. Whatever you do don'y drink the water was the advice from my mother on my first visit - to which she added not to sit on any loo seats :lol: :lol:

Last week there was a Foire de l'Eau at the local supermarket and almost everyone coming out of the store was carrying one or more (many more) packs of bottle water , all in plastic and all wrapped in even more plastic. I even saw our neighbour who is , I thought. very environmentally aware and only eats organic food - so why plastic bottles of water which has been transported from heaven knows where? Especially when the water from the tap is absolutely fine and, in fact tastes nice because it is hard

I do notice however that more and more local people order a carafe, ie tap water,rather than bottled in restaurants.
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Re: plastic waste

Postby miss mouse » April 21st, 2018, 4:22 pm

scullion wrote:people are going to have to give it up, to a large extent, as oil decreases,


There is decades worth of it left my oil & gas guru tells me. And too many people have their fortunes based in oil & gas.

suffolk wrote:Do you remember that for a short while plastic egg cartons replaced the mashed up paper ones


Sainsbugs have plastic ones again, more robust than the previous ones.

Ratatouille wrote:Recycling is done/organized fairly well here


Do you know where it goes and what is done with it? Waste management is big business.
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Re: plastic waste

Postby scullion » April 21st, 2018, 4:28 pm

miss mouse wrote:There is decades worth of it left my oil & gas guru tells me.

well, that's good, we can all leave the problem for future generations to solve/clear up.
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Re: plastic waste

Postby scullion » April 21st, 2018, 4:31 pm

miss mouse wrote:Sainsbugs have plastic ones again, more robust than the previous ones.


hopefully people will think before they buy those eggs now.
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Re: plastic waste

Postby miss mouse » April 21st, 2018, 5:28 pm

scullion wrote:well, that's good, we can all leave the problem for future generations to solve/clear up.


I very much doubt that there is much I can do as a one woman band fighting oil and gas, it is a large and powerful industry, alas for me I do not have that many billions. Fracking, is that underway yet? Open strip coal mining to begin soon. What can I do but berate our gutless MPs?

scullion wrote:hopefully people will think before they buy those eggs now.


They are all in this style of box, do you want me to live without eggs?
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Re: plastic waste

Postby StokeySue » April 21st, 2018, 5:35 pm

Morrison's have all papier mache type egg boxes now, I was quite surprised to see some plastic ones on a rare foray elsewhere, thought they'd gone away

I ordered some Ecover Zero dishwasher powder, as I hate scented dish washing products. And they come in a simple, recyclable cardboard box :tu: However some lummock had put each box into a substantial zip plastic bag for shipping (I ordered several boxes, which came inside a cardboard carton). I will of course reuse the bags but really :twisted:
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Re: plastic waste

Postby suffolk » April 21st, 2018, 5:42 pm

miss mouse wrote:I very much doubt that there is much I can do as a one woman band fighting oil and gas


Since when are you the only one? :?
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Re: plastic waste

Postby scullion » April 21st, 2018, 5:47 pm

miss mouse wrote:They are all in this style of box, do you want me to live without eggs?

other shops are available but your voice can count - make a point by taking a papier mâché egg box, transferring the eggs and leaving the plastic box with them, on the checkout.
it didn't take long for our local tesco to remove the sweets from the checkout when i announced quite loudly to the cashier that i was not going to be responsible for my children reaching the sweets from the trolley while i was unloading the shopping. they would call for another worker to keep their eye on the children - until one day all the sweets/pester bait disappeared from those locations.
i doubt it was just me but each voice adds up and can force a change.
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Re: plastic waste

Postby PatsyMFagan » April 21st, 2018, 5:56 pm

I am trying my best not to need/use plastic or reduce as much as possible... however, my milk is delivered in plastic bottles and I think glass bottles for milk are quite rare these days ? I would be very glad if the dairy in the village could go over to glass, but guess it would be too costly to convert the bottling process :(
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Re: plastic waste

Postby Kitewatcher » April 21st, 2018, 6:03 pm

Don't worry too much about plastic milk bottles - that's one item they have been re-cycling for years. It's the other stuff they haven't got a handle in yet.
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Re: plastic waste

Postby PatsyMFagan » April 21st, 2018, 6:05 pm

Kitewatcher wrote:Don't worry too much about plastic milk bottles - that's one item they have been re-cycling for years. It's the other stuff they haven't got a handle in yet.


thank goodness for that ;) I can now sleep at night (and I'm not being facetious ! ) :tu: :bounce: :tu:
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Re: plastic waste

Postby StokeySue » April 21st, 2018, 6:26 pm

I have heard that the hipsters round here buy glass bottles whenever possible, partly to be eco, but also because you can put glass ones onthe table rather more nicely than you can plastic :D
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Re: plastic waste

Postby Ratatouille » April 21st, 2018, 6:30 pm

miss mouse wrote:
Ratatouille wrote:Recycling is done/organized fairly well here


Do you know where it goes and what is done with it? Waste management is big business.


Yes we do. There is a magazine published every quarter by the commune which tells us how much has been recycled and what has happened to it. For example all cooking oil goes to make bio diesel Quite etc a lot of the plastic is incinerated to produce community heating and lighting, all the garden waste is chewed up and can be bought as compost or is used by the commune in the parks and rather beautiful roundablouts.

It's the water bottles which no one seems to be able to explain away
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Re: plastic waste

Postby miss mouse » April 21st, 2018, 6:48 pm

That is encouraging Rats. In UK PLC everything is for sale. No investment, no long-term thinking.

suffolk wrote:Since when are you the only one?


I am not of course. What can a small band of eco-warriors (or doing our best) do against Big Bizz?
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Re: plastic waste

Postby karadekoolaid » April 22nd, 2018, 12:04 am

I´m not an activist by any means; never have been - unless you count CAMRA in the 1970s!
Plastic, however, drives me nuts. I hate plastic bottles; I hate plastic bags, and most of all, I hate those horrible plastic containers which cover anything electronic. They`re impossible to open!
So I´m delighted that, finally, someone, somewhere has decided to declare war on plastic. Seriously delighted.
I shall not be on the front line of the "BanThePlastic" protests, but I shall do my part to contribute!
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Re: plastic waste

Postby earthmaiden » April 22nd, 2018, 8:12 am

miss mouse wrote:What can a small band of eco-warriors (or doing our best) do against Big Bizz?

Big biz only thrives when there is a demand for its goods or if it persuades us we need them. If enough people protest then they have to do something. There are a lot of innovative and interesting developments coming up and I think in a few years we will look back with horror on these times. There's a long way to go but people's perception is changing. Here in Australia I have been shocked this week to have been given goods in a plastic carrier bag and to find only plastic straws in McDonald's (is that still the same worldwide - they should be ashamed). A year or two ago neither would have shocked me. On the plane coming over meals were served with reusable metal cutlery. I was impressed with that even though there were still a lot of disposable items per meal.
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Re: plastic waste

Postby StokeySue » April 22nd, 2018, 8:59 am

Agree with earthmaiden, we do have "pester power" as consumers, and Big Biz can't sell us anything we refuse to buy
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Re: plastic waste

Postby scullion » April 22nd, 2018, 9:09 am

absolutely.
i stood behind a man paying for an item in lidl, some years back, who preceded to take off all the packaging and leave it for the shop to dispose of. i was most impressed and happy to wait for him. i would have done the same had i not needed to be elsewhere.
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Re: plastic waste

Postby Ratatouille » April 22nd, 2018, 9:23 am

I feel that it is largely about individual attitudes. "I'm only a small cog in the big wheel" really just is coping out. Unless everyone actually does something, anything, nothing will change.
We have a few friends, French and expat, who grumle ut don't actually take action. They happily take plastic bags because they can't be bothered to take shopping bags/baskets with them. They grab plastic punnets of strawberries and mushrooms, one said it was because they are cleaner :rolleyes: I have asked for magazine and catalogues not to be sent to me in plastic envelopes and I have successfully - though I'm sure not alone - persuaded certain mail-order outlets to send their orders in cartons and without polystyreme beads.

Like KK I'm not about to become an active ecco warrior but like everything else we all do have a and it must be heard.
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Re: plastic waste

Postby earthmaiden » April 22nd, 2018, 9:24 am

They were doing that as the norm in Germany 10 years ago so I am told. A friend who moved back to the UK then was surprised we didn't.
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Re: plastic waste

Postby Meganthemog » April 22nd, 2018, 12:40 pm

StokeySue wrote:I have heard that the hipsters round here buy glass bottles whenever possible, partly to be eco, but also because you can put glass ones onthe table rather more nicely than you can plastic :D


My milk is delivered in glass bottles. Don't all dairies us glass bottles?
My mother would have had a fit if we'd put the milk bottle on the breakfast table - it had to be decanted into a pretty jug :lol: :lol:
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Re: plastic waste

Postby scullion » April 22nd, 2018, 1:55 pm

Ratatouille wrote:I have [...] persuaded certain mail-order outlets to send their orders in cartons and without polystyreme beads.

when we have had to post things like that we have used popcorn - works just the same. (yes, we have a popcorn machine but you can probably make it with a blow torch if you're careful). i also used to put the polystyrene packing received from others into the beanbags to bulk them out as they flattened.
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Re: plastic waste

Postby Ratatouille » April 22nd, 2018, 2:12 pm

The polystyrene beads we have date from 20 years back. They live in plastic sacks and are used every wineter to insulate the water meter and the garden pipes.
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Re: plastic waste

Postby scullion » April 22nd, 2018, 2:19 pm

we seem to get more things padded with inflated plastic bag packing, now. it possibly uses less plastic but surely there's a better way - eg popcorn!
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Re: plastic waste

Postby Ratatouille » April 22nd, 2018, 2:26 pm

Or scrunched up newpaper or other recycled paper and what ever happened to corrigated cardboard
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Re: plastic waste

Postby scullion » April 22nd, 2018, 2:34 pm

exactly.
any corrugated cardboard we used to get was used in the bee smoker - as long as it was one without a fire retardant.
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Re: plastic waste

Postby StokeySue » April 22nd, 2018, 4:35 pm

Meganthemog wrote:My milk is delivered in glass bottles. Don't all dairies us glass bottles?

My mother too!
But very few dairies use glass bottles now, Patsy has alreadymentioned that her local dairy delivers in plastic, for example
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Re: plastic waste

Postby Pepper Pig » April 22nd, 2018, 4:50 pm

Haven’t seen glass milk bottles around here for years. Possibly twenty.
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