A word from the editor: Why plastic is really not fantastic

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One of my jobs as a kid was to wash the milk bottles out and put them on the step for the milkman to collect the next day.

I’ve written before about this and the deposit return schemes which were so simply effective, and seem to be back in the news again.

I was musing on this as I poked through various bits of plastic packaging, trying to work out what was recyclable and what wasn’t so that I could sort it into plastic containers so that a diesel lorry could come along and pick it up the next day and take it onwards - to be turned into pellets to make more plastic.

For this I needed my glasses to read whether or not it was recyclable. I cannot determine which types of plastics are recyclable and which are not just by looking, I don’t have a PhD in the subject and it seems somewhat complicated.

One such packet had earlier encased a piece of salmon. This fresh slice of Scottish deliciousness came in a plastic tray, shrink wrapped with plastic and wrapped with a label. The label was “widely recyclable” and the tray was not. The plastic coating I have no idea - I’d lost patience by that point and was covered in smelly salmon water.

There are some parts of the UK which have seen salmon return to our rivers thanks to cleaner industrial practices and yet, once caught, killed and filleted, we put them in plastic which will end up in landfill blighting land for generations.

Back in the days of the doorstep pinta and its recycling system, a piece of fish would be wrapped in newspaper. Aye there’s the rub - there’s a lot less of that about these days too.

So if you do buy a copy of the YEP (and I hope you do), and I do hope you find a sustainable use for it after reading!