Lib Dems vote to reduce plastics production

180605 Downing Street Ineos plastics Talk Fracking 1

Protest outside Downing Street against plastics production. Photo: Talk Fracking, 5/6/2018

The Lib Dems have backed an international treaty to reduce the production, consumption and trade in the building blocks of plastic.

The party, meeting at its conference in Brighton, said the policy builds on its opposition to fracking. Plastics are produced from chemicals sourced almost entirely from fossil fuels, particular natural gas liquids or the products of oil refining.

Ineos, the UK’s largest shale gas licence holder, has said it hopes its onshore sites will, in future, produce ethane for use in plastics manufacture. The company already imports ethane from fracking sites in the US for its plastics facility at Grangemouth.

Lib Dem delegates called on the government to start negotiations within the UN for a legally-binding treaty on plastics. This should include phased reductions in the production, consumption and trade of virgin feedstock, they said. It should also encourage the reuse and recycling of plastic.

Steve Mason, of Frack Free United, welcomed the vote:

“Yet again the politicians waking up. Having policy-makers calling for the reduction of production and trade in virgin feedstock, i.e. fracked oil and gas is yet another step to stopping fracking in its tracks. The Frack Free campaign is working tirelessly at the conferences to solidify political opposition across the political spectrum. ”

Graham Neale, chair of the Green Liberal Democrats said:

“The idea of extracting gas from under people’s homes to make plastics is plain wrong. We are a party of arguments based on evidence, and determined to oppose this.”

Speaking after the debate, the former Lib Dem leader, Tim Farron, said:

 “The problem with plastics is not only on our shores. It is a problem that impacts the environment, communities and wildlife across the globe.

“The Government therefore has a duty to lead from the front and start weaning the world off plastics. But instead of leadership on the environment, all this Conservative Government offers is empty words.”

6 replies »

  1. This needs to be adopted by all political parties, and by all people: eliminating plastic is a fundamental part of ensuring our environment and climate survive without widespread destruction that threatens our survival as a human species. Plastic is washed off our clothes and so many household goods and products, and washed into our seas, we eat fish and so eat the microplastic they eat. It pollutes our soil. And its production (from fossil fuels) pollutes our air (and possibly our soil and water too). Humanity thrived before plastics and it will thrive after them, if we get our act together in time.

    • Ian
      That humanity thrived pre plastic may be viewed as a great time to live, along with thriving without bronze, then iron and then the fossil fuel age ( and thriving in the stone age no doubt ).

      But, prior to the fossil fuel age, thriving was for a few, life expectancy low and famine and disease endemic.

      But, once fossil fuels turned up we have thrived, if not a bit too well given the global population and extended life expectancy.

      Now we move to the next age, which is not driven by a shortage of fossil fuels ( as there was no shortage of stone in the Stone Age ), but concerns re Greenhouse gas issues and technology available due to FFs.

      But best to remember that without that fossil fuel age and its resulting advances in medicine and food production most of us would not be here ( and hence neither would our children etc etc ).

      My great great grandmother had 12 children of whom 3 survived beyond 7, winnowed away as they were by disease and hunger. None suffered from a surfeit of plastic as I remember from the family history.

      But… good to see an international treaty to reduce the use of plastic, as a reduction, similar to a reduction in the use of flint, got rid of the flint industry ( was that the flint age ), not closure of the flint mines I guess.

      Hmmmm, what is proposed to replace plastic ( paper, wood, steel? )

  2. LibDems / Greens can say what they want, any Party which will never get into Government can and will.

    Currently zero UK onshore gas / associated liquids go into plastic production. It may continue to be that way. But zero onshore gas production has no relevance to the amount of plastic produced. This is determined by demand – from all on this BB and the rest of the planet.

    Cut demand = cut in production.

  3. Minor parties only gain attention by being nuttier than the significant parties. It’s how they attract individuals who are uncomfortable elsewhere.

    Perhaps if idiots stopped putting needles into items such as strawberries, there would be less need to add security to food distribution? Or, how about stop putting plastic into oceans and dispose of the material correctly? Nah-that wouldn’t gain any attention, would it?

    Anyway, they are, as usual, behind the times. Schemes now for digging up land fill plastic and processing it. Of course, land fill itself is also behind the times. So, all in all, a perfect fit.

    • Perhaps you didn’t read it properly?
      “The Lib Dems have backed an international treaty to reduce the production, consumption and trade in the building blocks of plastic.”
      An international treaty? Not really ‘nuttier’ then is it?

  4. Yes, I did read it properly. What do you think “international” means? Consensus across the world? Not going to happen. Are the Lib Dems going to be in a position to join such a treaty? Not going to happen. They may join the local fitness club, but not going to influence much there either. Would spend all their time trying to remove the Exit signs.


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