The Pure Option™ has won a number of awards but one of the awards we are most proud of is the Blaenau Gwent Micro Business of the Year Award 2020 ( it was a little bit delayed because of covid).
It’s hard to not feel downtrodden when it comes to the environment and let’s fact it, the messages we receive are pretty down beat so we wanted to show just how Industry and Academia are solving the worlds plastic problems.
These are just examples of current innovations but there are many more in the pipeline.
We are thrilled to say we won the Micro Business of the Year award 2020.
We have been nominated for a number of awards but this is local and personal, so we were not only surprised to win, we were thrilled as we were in with some great businesses.
Well done to all businesses nominated and we want to say thanks to Blaenau Gwent for putting the event on ( virtually) with all the chaos of these strange times.
On the surface a ban on single use plastics sounds like a good plan as we are all aware of the effects on the environment of petrol based plastics but sadly like most of the UK , Scotland is trying to crack a nut using a sledgehammer.
The ban potentially includes plant based materials which are the obvious solution to the problem , we don’t like barriers so why shouldn’t you use a straw, you just need to make certain it’s a plant based material that can be used to grow more plants and reduce our reliance on chemical fertilisers.
So we are asking everyone to vote on this consultation to avoid the knee jerk reaction of a ban for on all single use products, we would even go as far as saying in these strange times, single use is the safest and most hygienic option, it just needs to be made of the right materials.
Strangely legislation on petrol based plastic would be a great way of driving change and countries like Canada are looking at encouraging businesses to use plant based packaging with a taxation policy to make it more financially viable to make the change ( sadly the plastic tax in April in England and Wales is going to do the opposite).
(apologies for how long and wordy these things are but it’s importance means they are never usually short and concise).
Please make your voice heard by adding to the consultation here.
If your interested in our answers to the questions , we have added them below.
1(a). Do you support the proposal to introduce a market restriction in Scotland on each of the single-use plastic items listed and all oxo-degradable products?
|Single-use plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks)|
|Single-use plastic plates (plates, trays/platters, bowls)|
|Single-use plastic straws|
|Single-use plastic beverage stirrers|
|Single-use plastic balloon sticks|
|Single-use food containers made of expanded polystyrene|
|Single-use cups and other beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene, including their covers, caps and lids|
|All oxo-degradable products|
1(b). Please give reasons and where possible provide evidence to support the view expressed in response to Question 1(a).
This is an opportunity for Scotland to follow the examples set by Australia, Canada and Ireland and see the potential of replacing petrol based plastics with plant based materials.
Plant based materials offer the perfect option as they add no barrier to modern life but offer an environmental end of life benefit without any harmful environmental effects.
Canada is planning on banning plastic based packaging and providing tax incentives for businesses to convert to the sustainable and circular option that plant based materials offer, which will drive the change to the more sustainable and carbon negative option that plant based materials offer.
This offers the opportunity of creating a climate of innovation in the bio polymer industry in Scotland and to legislate and include plant based materials such as PLA in with this market restrictions is actual removing the benefits of plant based materials over recycling , which is just dealing with a problem material and reusing it up to the point it can’t be reused.
1(c). Do you support the introduction of a restriction on the manufacturing of the specified single-use plastic items, excluding those for which exemptions will be introduced? Please give reasons.
We appreciate that currently the issue the waste industry use as a reason to not include plant based materials is the lack of facilities to achieve the maximum benefits (even though solutions like In Vessel Composting (IVC) already exist but this is not a reason to invest in the future of a more sustainable plant based materials and the issue with lack of processing facilities is a short term problem as our industry is innovating and finding ways of making our products easier to process.
In the pipeline is new materials like Toraphene and a number of other materials , that would remove this issue (although I do think investment in IVC facilities offers huge present benefits).
So we are looking at the problem in a skewed way as the current attitude is compostable packaging is hard to process due to our lack of facilities but if we encouraged their usage, this would drive the waste industry to adapt.
We believe the environmental benefits of a plant based material solution means that plant based materials should be excluded from any ban or tax.
It is also worth noting that a number of countries around the world are already looking at plant based materials being the answer to the harmful effects of petrol based plastics.
The UK as a whole is wrongly committed itself to a recycling at all costs point of view and the Welsh Government is a good example as it is committed to overtaking Germany as the worlds highest recycling nation, but this is a blinkered approach as Germany is looking at replacing petrol based recycled products with plant based materials because they want a more balanced and nuanced approach to waste.
We appreciate that Aluminium is the best material for a can and aluminium recycling is efficient and financially viable but to think this way with all materials such as PET ( That can only really be recycled up to 4 times) when environmentally positive alternatives like PLA exist, is a very blinkered approach.
We need a policy of recycling when it’s environmentally beneficial and when it isn’t, use materials that benefit the environment.
We can have the convenience of a straw but we can make it from plant based materials and have the environmental benefits that come with it.
In fact this approach is a return to the way we used materials before, there was a time when we used paper bags and paper straws and we converted to plastic, when we should of just improved the materials.
There is currently no reason that most of these products can’t be made from a plant based alternative and products that can’t be currently made from plant based materials are likely to be commercial viable with the new plant based materials that are in development, industry will find a solution.
Covid has created a need ( that didn’t exist previous) for individually wrapped items in the interest of hygiene and Covid mitigation and there is now a need for items such as cutlery to be individually wrapped and this is likely to continue.
This hasn’t been accounted for in this consultation as the move to single use individually wrapped items is part of covid control and this is another benefit of plant based single use items as the end result after disposal offers no environmental downside if it is processed correctly and composted after use.
The potential benefit of this legislation if used as a driver of change, is that we can produce and grow a UK based centre of excellence when it comes to plant based materials, a ban or a tax would have the potential benefit of encouraging businesses to use plant based material packaging at the expense of harmful petrol based plastics.
I hope that Scotland follows the example of nations such as Canada, New Zealand, Germany and Australia in creating a solution based response , rather than telling the consumer what they shouldn’t do , give them the knowledge and the ability to purchase the solution.
Current policy in the UK is to create barriers to modern life and tell the consumer they are part of the problem , whereas we hope the Scottish Government will be the first UK authority to give the consumer and businesses an environmentally positive option and banning or taxing the environmentally harmful petrol based alternatives such as polystyrene will allow the consumer to know how they can make a positive contribution to the environment and the same legislation will force businesses to make the change to a more sustainable and planet friendly alternative that plant based materials offer.
This approach will give Scotland an advantage over the other parts of the UK that have a policy that is geared towards recycling problem materials rather than just replacing them.
It mentions materials made from paper etc as minor positive effect which shows the Scottish Government needs to take more time in analysing the positive effects of replacing petrol based materials with plant based materials as the carbon saved in their manufacturing process along with the carbon saved by not removing petroleum from the ground and the environmental impact this creates, which does not reflect a minor positive impact as defined in the Environmental Report.
I would recommend that the Scottish Government have compostable materials tested to chart their full environmental benefits when compared to petrol based plastics.
It also does not take into consideration the environmental benefits of reusing the compost as a replacement for chemical fertiliser or the huge benefits of the end to extracting peat for use in compost ( a huge amount of carbon is released by doing this.
It also does not include the benefits from the fact that typically compostable packaging is made from waste materials.
I think the Scottish Government are making the same mistake that the rest of the UK is making when it states
Key recommendations are:
Encourage citizens to eliminate single-use items in favour of multi-use reusable alternatives;
Ensure recycling infrastructure is available to capture and recycle non-plastic alternatives; and
Design an awareness campaign to ensure that citizens are well informed about new measures and the best recycling route for alternative items.
This is a barrier approach and doesn’t take into consideration the impact on the consumer for the need to remember items such as reusable cups and it does not take into consideration the impact of what to do with reusable cups that have come to end of their life, this is especially concerning when the obvious solution that requires no barriers is to just change the materials used.
3. Do you agree with the recommendations and proposals for mitigation and enhancement of the environmental effects set out in the Environmental Report? (If not, what do you think should be the key recommendations and why?)
The current approach with reusable at it’s core is only deferring the issue for a later date as it’s a recycling based approach at it’s heart when we should be asking ourselves if the ability to create a natural solution to an unnatural problem exists, why aren’t we encouraging it.
It is also worth noting that previous to the 1970’s we actively used plant based materials for items such as shopping bags and straws and we now have much better materials available to replace single use plastics.
I do agree it addresses the following
Climatic Factors – reduce embedded carbon impacts associated with targeted items.
Material Assets – reduce overall consumption of finite fossil fuel resources.
Landscape and Visual – reduce the cumulative impacts of litter caused by long-life plastics.
Biodiversity – reduce the amount of plastic entering and degrading in terrestrial and marine environmental where it poses a threat to flora and fauna.
Soil – reduce the amount of plastic entering and degrading within soil
But it does this in the least effective way and as mentioned the barrier approach suggested actually adds future environmental issues with regards to current reusable materials.
4. Are you aware of any further information that will help to inform the findings of the assessment? (Please give details of additional relevant sources)
I have extensive research on usage of compostable materials including research where an alkaline is added in Anaerobic Digester to increase methane for energy and increase bio degradation times.
Food waste and compostable packaging can actually be used to create more energy from waste and the alkaline actually breaks the compostable materials down quicker which allows it to be processed in normal AD facilities.
5. Do you agree with the proposed arrangements for monitoring the significant effects of the proposed restriction? (If not, what measures do you propose?)
I think that recovered compost created should be added as an indication of the impact created.
If we use CPRE figures the UK currently produces 18.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions come from peatland extraction every year in the UK.
I mention this as peat extraction is a huge environmental issue in the UK that is not discussed and we wouldn’t need to use peat compost if we utilised composted packaging and that’s without factoring in the saving from not using chemical fertilisers.
If you’ve made it this far, pat yourself on the back as these things are always very wordy and can be a bit on the boring side, well done you.
The Pure Option appears in The Business magazine talking about our new prototype compostable and recyclable cups.
The Pure Option met our local MP to talk about issues with how we deal with compostable packaging and how they need to be considered as a positive addition to our waste streams.
We didn’t win but it was a great honour to be nominated for such a prestigious award as the Business in the Community UPS Environmental Sustainability Awards 2019
The winner on the day was Morrisons but to be a finalist was an incredible honour.