Sustainability and single use plastics by Peter Price-Thomas

On Wednesday 14th November 2018 at lunchtime in Bishops Cleeve there was an illustrated presentation by Peter Price-Thomas who tackled the huge and complex problem of single use plastics. It was hosted by the Methodist Church thanks to Jerry Barr.  About 24 people attended including several Christians from Bishops Cleeve, Susan Hudson from Stratton Parish Church, the Revd Joe Knight - newly appointed as curate in the Forest of Dean and Elaine and Ron Keasley from the Friends of Barnwood Arboretum

 Apologies were received from the Revd Alison Evans of Gloucestershire Churches Together. 

Peter has been an environmental consultant for over 20 years working with amongst others Forum for the Future and the Natural Step.  He'd carefully researched the problem and his presentation used a series of high quality slides. The following topics were covered:

  • A quotation from the National Academy of Engineering, “Factor 4” (1997): “80% of products are discarded after single use.  Thus about 99% of the original materials used in the production of, or contained in, the goods made in the United States become waste within six weeks of sale.”
  • Some reasons why has the issue of plastics has gripped the public so much
  • "What are the environmental impacts of coffee?" "So is plastic evil and should we ban it?"
  • Our aim with plastics as with coffee must be to increase the benefits whilst reducing the environmental impacts?
  • The power of writing letters to important people
  • "The funnel" of declining resources and increasing consumption (including population growth)
  • Strategic thinking illustrated by a bath overflowing with water
  • The four characteristic of a sustainable society 
  • Case studies such as Norsk Hydro and PVC manufacturers
  • Use of pressure or "an arrow to the heart"
  • What Christians can do including letter writing, prayer, helping Christians connect their faith to their workplaces and daily living, asking "why do we consume?" 

Book recommendations "Drawdown" and "The Ecology of Commerce" both by Paul Hawken

The first slide is available to download; but for copyright reasons the full set can only be obtained as a pdf by emailing the speaker (ppt@price-thomas.org) or through the Revd Arthur Champion (contact details on the home page of this website).

 Peter's 50-minute talk was very engaging and afterwards generated 25 minutes of lively Q&A.