Our take on the plastic problem – we would like to do more…

I watched the amazing Blue planet 2 documentary and read and listened to a lot of people talking about the plastic waste problem. Its a very real problem – we’ve all seen it.   I thought i might provide a manufacturers prospective as to why we contribute to the problem and would like to do more.  But we need group thinking and top down action.

As an active user of the ocean I have seen at first hand the problems that plastic rubbish causes.   I swim and surf and have done this at many locations around the world. I have witnessed the beaches in Bali getting dirtier and dirtier and the most beautiful and lesser travelled corners of the planet becoming clogged with plastic.  Our local shoreline is awash with plastic, the beautiful Gower Peninsular where our business is based sees tonnes of plastic washed up on its shores every year.  Lighters, shoes, fish boxes, plastic containers, plastic bottles, cups, food cartons etc etc.

As a manufacturer Lewis Pies use printed 30mu OPP polypropylene film wrap to surround individual pastry products and plastic trays to hold certain lose products.  We have made both thinner to reduce their impact but cant remove them.  We use this to protect product and preserve the shelf life of our products – its a must and is a requirement. It bothers me – there are recyclable alternatives but they are not cost effective – this is why we cant use them whilst competitors chose cheaper alternatives.  We would love to use them but need to compete.

We put our products in recycled cardboard boxes and deliver them in consolidated diesel delivery lorries of shapes and sizes all over the uk.  We work hard to do what we can.  We are a ‘zero to landfill’ site and continuously look to improve our recycling.  Its and ongoing challenge and part of a wider environmental piece.  https://www.lewispies.co.uk/2017/04/05/lewis-pies-lewis-bakery-zero-landfill/

As a country we need pull together and legislate against these materials. We would welcome it.  Manufacturers, retailers, government, consumers all have to play their part.  This would leave us on a level playing field.  We would ALL be forced to use these materials.  Manufacturers with finite margins would all see the same cost impact.  Retailers would understand this and flex.  Consumers would have to pay a little more – but for a good cause.  It could even be done open book!  The increased demand would allow technological innovation and allow costs to reduce naturally.

If you ask any business with a strong leadership team “Do you want to use fully recyclable packaging materials” the answer is likely to be a resounding “YES”!  If we want to use these recyclable materials we ALL need to be prepared to share the cost.  Retailers, consumers and manufacturers.

Wilf Lewis
MD

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