Michael Stephen Column

Anti-Plastic Zealots (FREE)

Today Michael talks about anti-plastic zealots. This is a FREE article.


Last week I expressed concern that the proposed UN Plastics Treaty could be a very bad treaty if the UN pays too much attention to environmental zealots who wish to ban plastic for no good reason.

This week I have been reading an article in the US newspaper, “The Epoch Times,” which reports  Patrick Moore, one of the founders of Greenpeace saying that his reason for leaving the NGO was that “the ‘environmental’ movement has become more of a political movement than an environmental movement.”   “They are primarily focused on creating narratives, stories, that are designed to instill fear and guilt into the public so the public will send them money.”

He says “Plastic is not a toxic substance. That is why we package and wrap our food in it, to prevent it from becoming contaminated.”

When asked how Greenpeace utilizes its massive donations, Moore said it was used to pay for “a very large staff” (likely over 2,000) and extensive advertisements, and fundraising programs. And virtually all of the organization’s adverts for fundraising are based on  narratives which he had thoroughly disproven in his books.


I have also been reading an article in “Packaging Insights” with the headline “Cut plastics to combat Putin: EU energy independence strategy must target packaging.” This was a report on statements by  two NGOs and I thought it was nonsense.  

They argue that Russia’s war on Ukraine has revealed the EU’s dependence on Russian oil and gas, leading to a crippled state of affairs in the union in terms of energy supply ahead of the winter season.

There is indeed a crippled state of affairs in terms of energy supply, but it has been caused by environmental zealots over the last 20-30 years, demanding that oil, coal, and nuclear power stations be run down or closed, or not built at all, long before other supplies of electricity were sufficiently available.  Also by opposing development of  domestic sources of oil and coal, and by opposing the use of coal, or plastic and other forms of waste, using clean-burn technology, as they do in Zurich.

In order to respond to this self-inflicted crisis the authors suggest that “the effects can be minimized if the energy consumption by plastic production is diverted by reducing output.”  I don’t think so.

In Europe, it is estimated that between 4–6% of oil and gas is used for producing plastics, but this is hardly a “massive share” of the resources.  In any event, plastic is made from ethylene and ethane, which are by-products of the extraction of oil and gas for fuels, and would arise even if plastic did not exist.  It makes sense to use these by-products until the day – if ever- that oil and gas are no longer needed for fuels.

As the UK Environment Minister said in the House of Commons on 27th June “Plastics often get a bad name, but they are incredibly important and useful because their strength and versatility make them a very valuable material in many areas of life. For example, the plastic packaging that challenges us when we try to get rid of it, also preserves our food and plays a key part in extending the shelf life of some items and in reducing food waste.”

The only problem is that plastics will lie or float around for decades if they get into the open environment, but this can be substantially reduced by making the plastic with d2w technology.

Michael Stephen

Michael Stephen is a lawyer and was a member of the United Kingdom Parliament, where he served on the Environment Select Committee. When he left Parliament Symphony Environmental Technologies Plc. attracted his attention because of his interest in the environment. He is now Deputy Chairman of Symphony, which is listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange, and is the founder and Chairman of the Biodegradable Plastics Association.

Earlier Postings in this Column

All articles of Michael Stephen can be found here

Interview with Michael Stephen


The opinions expressed here by Michael Stephen and other columnists are their own, not those of Bioplasticsnews.com.

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