Setting aside the tautology of “one of the only” — it is either “the only” or “one of several”, it would have been better to simply say “there aren’t many alternatives” — you need to provide some evidence for such a sweeping statement. The fact is that we managed for decades without plastic packaging and could easily do so again. And packaging is not the only source of plastic pollution. The real problem is that few of the alternatives are without environmental consequences. Cotton growing is water intensive and usually involves the use of pesticides. Other fibrous plants similarly involve vast areas of monoculture which are by definition inimical to the biodiversity essential for a sustainable future.

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Frank is a retired Engineer from England now living in Ireland. He is trying to learn and share the lessons of history.

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