Before you contact David Attenborough in outrage, please hear me out... Could plastic be not all that bad?
If you have managed to avoid the plastic revolution over the past few years, where have you been?! First came the banning of plastic microbeads in skincare, then the introduction of paper straws seemingly in every establishment, leading to the eventual recent outright banning of plastic straws and stirrers in all pubs and restaurants as of 1st October 2020. Every year in England, we use 4.7 billion plastic straws and 316 million plastic stirrers (gov.uk website.) Saving our seas from this volume of plastic will undoubtedly have a drastic positive effect on protecting aquatic wildlife and aid in clearer waters which is a great win for the environment. There has been a shift in reusable items in many sectors, from women’s sanitary items to wooden cotton buds and reusable cotton rounds; the focus on plastic has reigned in and rightly so.
However, is this to say we should get rid of plastic for good? Is all plastic bad? Absolutely not. We need to remember that there is a huge difference between one use plastic and reusable plastic. Put simply, one use plastic does what it says on the tin- it is used once and chucked away! The majority of us have now switched to bags for life in the supermarket which are classed as reusable plastic or reusable plastic water bottles for the gym; still plastic but used again and again, ultimately meaning less plastic is produced and disposed of.
Plastic is notoriously difficult to destruct- use this to your advantage! Furniture in education is required to be robust and hard wearing for the demand of the working educational environment; durability should be top of the list of priorities when sourcing furniture for your school. The Spaceforme EN One chair prides itself on its durability, so much so it has a 21 year warranty attached to it. Not only that, your environmental conscience can be rest assured it has been produced with reinforced polypropylene which is 100% recyclable. Even better, it has been specifically manufactured to use less plastic so when it is finally time to change the furniture, less plastic will be disposed of. There are many companies throughout the UK who specialise in recycling of furniture, a simple Google search will bring up companies local to you. Upcycling is another option proving popular the world over- what ideas can you think of for reusing the EN One? Could you donate your unwanted furniture to better causes instead of sending it to the landfill?
It goes without saying that Covid- 19 is still rife in the UK and the world over. There is so much emphasis on keeping schools as clean as possible. Plastic has qualities that other materials such as wood just don’t have. Wood has porous fibres which allow bacteria to penetrate into it and is certainly not quick and simple to clean. Choosing a one piece plastic chair facilitates an easy clean, with no nooks and hard to reach crannies.
It’s controversial in 2020 to praise plastic, but plastic does have its fair place in the classroom. Perhaps our pride of being eco- friendly has steered us away from it in the past. So use your bags for life and paper straws but don’t be afraid of reusable plastic- sometimes it’s the best option.
Written by: Katherine Hackett