Plastics have been getting a bad press recently. The horrific film footage in Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet 2 of turtles and birds entangled with discarded plastic has had a profound impact on public opinion. Just going on the amount in our recycling bin, we have managed to at least half our plastic use since the programme was shown. It is said that almost every piece of plastic that has ever been made is still in existence in some form. OK a small amount will have been incinerated, but plastic itself does not degrade, it just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces – microplastics. On land, unless buried, these microplastics will eventually wash down to the sea by the natural water circle. Polypropylene baling twine is ubiquitous. It is often reused but frequently discarded, left to shred on hedges and barbed wire. It seems a given that wildlife may end up eating some of the fine strands, although there is not a get deal of evidence of sheep and cattle actually dying as a direct result of ingestion. I guess most would pass through the digestive system and end up in the droppings but some could ball up and remain in the stomach, hindering digestion and weakening the animal. Is there a non-plastic alternative? Sisal, jute, cotton or hemp all can be made into twine but no doubt these will be expensive compared with polypropylene.
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