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BBC: Anti-plastic focus ‘dangerous distraction’ from climate change

The anti-plastic “fervour” sweeping across the UK is weakening the fight against climate change, the founder of an organic food company has said.

Guy Singh-Watson, a prominent green entrepreneur and campaigner, said more focus should be put on cutting carbon.

PM Theresa May has pledged to ban all avoidable plastic waste by 2042.

Environmental experts have said that the anti-plastic movement showed the public could be “mobilised” for action on green issues.

There has been growing awareness of the damage caused by single-use plastics after TV series Blue Planet II highlighted the issue last year.

But Mr Singh-Watson, founder of Riverford Organic Farmers, which supplies about 47,000 boxes of vegetables to homes in the UK each week, said demonising plastic could do more harm than good.

He said: “The fervour – the almost religious fervour – of some of our customers in (being) anti-plastic can actually create problems.

“Plastic is not in itself an evil material, it is the fact that we use so much of it.

“The biggest environmental challenge facing our planet is climate change – and anything that distracts attention from that is potentially dangerous.”


Mr Singh-Watson, whose company is aiming to use only fully compostable plastic by 2020, says switching materials isn’t always the best option – as some, like paper, can have a higher carbon footprint than plastic.

He said it would be “a step in the wrong direction” if companies focused too much on their plastic usage, rather than addressing energy efficiency or reducing their carbon footprint in other ways.

The government has pledged to tackle plastic waste and is considering a number of proposals, including a ban on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds.