Plastic shower curtain is a waste of £2.3million.
A waste of time and money?
Not if you’re the Welsh Government.
Welsh Government waste reports to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reveal there were 2,858 plastic shower curtains sold in Wales in 2013-14.
The majority of the £2,3m was bought by the Government’s Plastic Recycling Authority (PRAA), which sells to the National Lottery.
It has since gone on to buy over 4,000 more plastic shower curtain in the same year, according to the ONS.
But not all of the plastic showercurtains were purchased by PRAA.
A total of 5,069 of them were bought by a company called Sustain, which is run by the former owner of Plastic Recycle, a company owned by the Welsh Secretary.
In total, the Government spent £4,566.30 on plastic showercovers for the entire Welsh population, with a further £1,878 spent on the use of recycled products.
This would equate to £2m of taxpayers’ money being spent on plastic curtains.
But the Government has refused to disclose what, if any, benefits the curtains provide.
“We do not provide data on the cost to the Welsh economy or to the environment of these products,” a spokesperson for the Welsh Department said in a statement to RTE.
According to a recent report by the Environment Agency, Wales is the fifth largest plastic recycler in the world.
With plastic recycling up by 8% since 2012, Wales has the fourth highest amount of plastic waste in the UK, after England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The government also claimed that plastic showerchairs were not environmentally friendly.
Sustainable, which does not sell any of its own products, said that its products were made from “plastic waste, and have a high environmental impact”.
“These products have the potential to impact on the environment as they degrade and degrade over time,” the spokesperson added.
So what’s the problem?
The PRAA has since stopped selling its own shower curtain products.
A spokesperson for PRAA said: “As of 30 September 2018, Sustain is no longer able to supply the Government with any of their shower curtains.
We do not supply any of our products to the PRAA and we will not supply them with any additional products.”
But if you want to see whether this is true, you can look at the packaging of the shower curtains that PRAA sells.
And if you look carefully, you’ll find a line on the back of the curtain that says “all materials” and “free from PVC”.
This is a reference to a PVC that is manufactured by a plastics company in the United States.
How much does this cost?
The cost to Welsh people of plastic showercloths is estimated at £1.5 million.
However, the Welsh government says the cost of the curtains for the whole of Wales would be £2 million.
What is the cost in other countries?
It’s not just the cost that is a concern.
Switzerland has a similar problem.
Its plastic shower covers are also manufactured in China.
That country’s waste control agency, the Swiss Environment Agency (SGE), said in an official statement that its plastic shower cover was made from plastic waste, which it found to be “extremely hazardous”.
The agency said that “only two parts of the cover are recycled by the SGE”, and “no plastic waste has been recycled.”
According to the SSE, it is “extremely unlikely” that a plastic showercover made from recycled plastic would be recycled.
Other countries have similar problems.
For example, Switzerland’s waste management agency, which runs the waste collection and disposal services for the Swiss Confederation, said in 2015 that plastic showers would have a low environmental impact and could be recycled in Switzerland.
Meanwhile, in Sweden, plastic shower towels were also made from PVC, but were only produced for the use by PRA.
As a result, it claimed that the waste was “non-recyclable.”
The spokesperson for SGE said the company “does not have any plans to produce the shower towels in Sweden”.
What can we do about it?
The waste management office of the Welsh Ministry of Business, Innovation and Skills (MBSIS) said it was “very concerned” by the reports.
If you want a refund of the money spent on your plastic showerbulbs, contact the MBSIS website.
Or, you could write to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to ask for a report into the cost and environmental impact of plastic curtains for Wales.
Alternatively, you may be able to find advice on the Welsh Waste Management Office website.
How do I contact Defra?
There are a number of ways to contact