Ripples from the BBC’s ‘War on Plastic‘ series continue to be felt within the industry, as public opinion of plastics feels at an all-time low, in a period when homegrown manufacturing needs all the support we can give it. What can be done then, for those of us who know better? Graham Webster, Director at Plastic-IT offers his viewpoint in this blog article.
If we all got the sack tomorrow, there would be trouble! By ‘WE’ I mean all of us who earn our livings, pay our mortgages and raise our kids thanks to the Plastics Industry – there would be Hell to Pay wouldn’t there?
Well, the likelihood of the sack tomorrow is improbable, but the day after is more probable – and the day after that is more probable too. Why? Because there is a groundswell of opposition to what we do and it has gained the platform of popular television where untruths about plastic are morphing into truisms.
Most of you (I hope) know that what we hear on TV and in the press about our wonder materials destroying the planet and ruining the future for our children, is absolute balderdash. So, what are YOU doing about it? I understand that it is difficult to get the message over and convince a so-called greenie that they are wrong. I have been in this industry longer than almost all of you, yet despite the credibility which that should give me, even I have been unsuccessful in turning the tide.
The British Plastics Federation has recently published its response to the screening of “The War on Plastic.” Correct as all that it says is, it has not said it with the cunning, zeal and theatre that is the way of ‘popular television.’
I am at a loss as to quite how a silver-spooned old Etonian, Celebrity Chef and Green Party supporter Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall or Anita Rani, Strictly Come Dancing participant and Country File presenter, together have the credentials for vocalising ‘facts’ about Plastics – they are just famous and self-promoting. Perhaps it is because Fearnly-Whittingshall and a fellow old Etonian own a large chunk of Keo Films who produced the program and sold it to their old mates the BBC who are forever grateful for the ratings that are brought to them by celebrity chefs?
So, what can we collectively do to redress the balance?
- Post on social media the links to the BPF response. Read it yourself and post, blog and tell your friends.
- Get your employees or your employers to become enthusiastic to counter all the negativity (if not the lies) that are perpetrated in the mainstream media.
- Contact the BBC with a complaint.
- Contact your MP.
The voices of the 182,000 direct employees and the 6,200 companies that make up the UK Plastic Industry alone need to be heard.
While you are at it, watch the excellent YouTube webinar ‘The Plastics Paradox’ written and properly researched by Dr Chris DeArmitt.
The sack for you may not come tomorrow, but if the industry becomes weakened as the consequence of poor journalism, it will be a crime.
How many jobs and business have already been lost because of the misguided ruling on ‘single-use’ bags? Today plastic drinking straws, stirrers and plastic-bodied cotton buds have been banned by the UK government. All of these plastic items have been replaced by alternatives, each of which will cost the consumer more – but worse still, the alternatives will cost the planet more.
This is due to emotional journalism, not scientific fact.