Michael Stephen Column Microplastics & Nanoplastics Tableware & Utensil

Microplastics, Paper Drinking Straws and Factory Closures (FREE)

Today Michael talks about Microplastics, Paper Straws, and Factory closures. This is a FREE article


A new study from Incheon National University says that “not even the Arctic Ocean is immune to the incessant growth of microplastic pollution.” The study analysed sediment core samples, and quantified how many of the particles had been deposited since the early 1930s. The team found that microplastic contamination in the Arctic has been growing exponentially and in lockstep with the growth of plastic production—which is now up to a trillion pounds a year, with the global amount of plastic waste projected to triple by 2060.This appalling pollution has been made worse by the anti-competitive opposition to biodegradable masterbatch technology by those who make vegetable-based plastic, and by some environmental groups with an irrational aversion to plastic of any kind.  Most of the microplastics are from PE or PP products, and if they had been made with a masterbatch such as d2w they would have safely biodegraded long ago.  See Why biodegradable?This technology has been commercially available now for 25 years, but instead of encouraging its use, governments and NGOs have focussed on “reduce, re-use, and recycle” – and we can all now see the consequences.


A growing number of countries have banned the sale of single-use plastic products, including drinking straws – and plant-based versions have become popular alternatives.However, recent research at the University of Antwerp found that “eco-friendly” paper drinking straws contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals and may not be better for the environment than plastic versions. These harmful chemicals were found in 18 out of 20 brands of paper straws.It is generally not a good idea to replace plastic products with paper.  See Plastic is better than paper


Flexible plastic packaging producer Berry BPI has said it will close its manufacturing plant in Renfrewshire.  The company said that a decreased demand from customers in the construction, industrial packaging and healthcare sectors had led to the closure.This is not an isolated case, because the PR war against plastic is reducing demand in many countries, and many production-lines and whole factories are closing. These attacks are based on the fact that plastic can lie or float around for decades if it gets into the environment as litter. The plastics industry could have protected itself by making its PE and PP products with a masterbatch technology such as d2w, so that it would quickly biodegrade leaving no harmful residues, but instead have been telling  the public that the problem could be solved by recycling.  Will they ever learn?

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 from Michael Stephen

Interview with Michael Stephen

Questions and Answers on OXO-Biodegradability


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

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