Is Plastic the new Fur?

Like you, dear reader, the Tubeway Blogger has rightly noticed the growing level of public concern about the huge use of plastic in everyday life, and the not-so-huge efforts to recycle or dispose of it safely. Why so much of it ends up in the ocean and in the bellies of marine life will be discussed another day, but it is fair to say that plastic is regarded in some circles as a menace to the planet, and as one of the biggest threats the environment faces. As Tubeway manufacture plastic products, we have started to look into this…..

This article on the BBC website caught our eye, hence we pinched it for the title of this blog:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/article/2a9ec104-388c-4aa5-aa61-e0d3981672a8

 

Fur

Fur as a material for clothing has been around probably as long as man, because if it was warm enough for the animal it grew on, it would keep the person who hunted and killed the animal warm as well. What changed was the use of fur as an adornment, a fashion statement, a mark of wealth and status. This was met in part by farming animals for their fur, not allowing them to live a life, and being subjected to cruelty and often a brutal death. Significant efforts have been made to get the trivial use of fur reduced or eliminated, and in the UK fur farming was banned in 2003. It took a lot of protest, campaigning and a shift in public awareness for perception of fur to change, but change it did, and a secondary industry of “fake fur” has grown to help fill the void.

Plastic

In the meantime, campaigners are alive to the impact of waste plastic on the environment, and public opinion is slowly shifting against single-use products, especially where they are non-recycleable, or there are credible alternatives. Action against users or manufacturers of plastic is not currently an issue, instead a growing mood of challenging unnecessary plastic packaging on , for example, supermarket shelves, where these hugely influential companies have the weight to demand changes from their suppliers in the interests of consumers or the environment.

Where Fur and Plastic meet

The BBC article enters the debate in quite a provocative way. It also is tinged by a significant irony, as fake fur is made of, as you’ve probably guessed, polymeric (plastic) fibres. These are small, hard to filter out in sewage plants, they shed in use and when washed, so are perfect for getting into rivers and seas, to be eaten by small organisms and entering the marine food chain. Cruelty in the fur industry was replaced by growth in plastic textiles, and now plastic is seen as a severe ecological threat. More information on this is here:

http://www.madehow.com/Volume-3/Fake-Fur.html

We hope this to be the start of a series of short articles around the subject of plastic and the environment. Not offering solutions, but encouraging information and debate. We hope to make them interesting.

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