Latte levy is only one step in the right direction

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Saturday 06 January 2018 17:28
Latte levy: The plastic problem inside your coffee cup

The 25p tax on disposable coffee cups will reduce cup use, but not solve the basic problem. Plastic does not degrade if left lying on the ground. Microorganisms in nature cannot digest plastic’s long-chain molecules. They can digest everything else – paper, cardboard, food, wood and so on. So, discarded coffee cups and other packaging made of oil-based plastics will still litter the countryside, beaches and seas for years to come.

We must stop using oil-based plastics and use instead biodegradable plastics made from maize, sugar, wood or other microbe digestible substrates. Oil-based plastic manufacturers should buy into the companies which already make these, and create packaging which degrades after use. They will gain support from consumers for being seen to be green.

Biodegradable cups and plastics can then be disposed of in our compost bins, to be shredded and either composted or anaerobically digested. Any remaining liquid milk, sugar or coffee residues are a bonus, as these serve to add nutrients and so speed microbe digestion.

Recycling coffee cups is a mug’s game, with more labour cost being put in than valuable product coming out. Put on a coffee cup tax by all means, but address the basic problem first.

Bob Pringle


Enjoying a cuppa could boost GDP

Instead of a 25p levy on disposable coffee cups why not encourage customers to drink coffee from a mug while relaxing in a cafe?

Name and address supplied

I am all for getting large companies to pay their correct taxes and charges but all of us need to think about the consequences of our actions, and when they are harmful, we need to pay towards repairing any damage.

At 63 years old, I remember the luxury of working for employers who supplied staff canteens and expected staff to use them for their one-hour lunch break. Perhaps now is the time for us to consider why so much food and drink is consumed on the move. It would be far better for everyone’s digestive system to sit, eat, drink and digest.

People who enjoy their food and eat together tend to consume less so this helps with our obesity problem. Could this enjoyment even add to our gross domestic product with employees working more productively in the afternoon?

Joan Cooper

Leighton Buzzard

It’s time we looked after our own elderly relatives

The NHS has over the years allowed families to abdicate responsibility to provide support for their elderly relatives.

Parents make sacrifices to make sure their children have every opportunity to make the best of themselves through to adulthood. When the rolls are reversed these privileged children will sacrifice little or nothing to provide care and allow their parent to be discharged from a much needed hospital bed.

“I’m too busy to look after my mother so I leave it to others” seems to be the attitude without any feeling of shame. If families took more responsibility many health and social services problems would be solved.

Michael Pate


Politicians are spending NHS money on high-speed trains

For some time I have thought the English have an unusual approach to money.

Our NHS is struggling under the strain of having too many patients, but not enough beds. In our generous way we accept all who call upon the NHS for help, regardless of whether or not they have made any contributions to the organisation. Other countries will offer help only after you have answered the question: “How do you intend to pay?”

We give millions of pounds to countries with dubious governments, while areas in our own country are struggling to survive.

We are spending billions of pounds on a high-speed train. Surely, a fraction of that money spent on improving the track and rolling stock would be just as good a solution. According to experts, there is not one high-speed train in the world that shows a profit.

One possible solution may be to remove all politicians from any decisions involving money and transfer decision-making to those who run our most successful businesses.

Colin Bower


The NHS needs more money now, and the Government does have the cash

I am currently on sick leave due to a serious health condition. I am physically unable to work. I am receiving sick pay (albeit finite) from my employer: the NHS. I am aware of how lucky I am to receive such sick pay. Many others in my position would not. Taking the best possible scenario, I will be off work for a minimum of five months and someone is being paid to replace me. I imagine I am one of thousands who are in a similar position.

We live in a country which has free healthcare (funded via national insurance payments). We are told we can rely on it. We are not told that if something goes wrong we will be waiting months and months for the treatment we need. We will cost our employer, our families and ourselves thousands of pounds in lost income and subsidies. Our mental and physical health will suffer. Our relationships will suffer. We will be at risk of significant financial disruption and debt.

The government needs to make a decision. Either we have an NHS which can be relied upon, and by that, I mean it can provide timely and effective treatment. Or, we don’t have one at all. The current status cannot continue. Apologies are useless. They don’t get people back to work, they don’t get people well.

The reality is that the lack of funding to the NHS is probably costing the taxpayer more in lost wages, sick pay and other related losses than it would cost to put more money in. If we could fix the NHS then the whole country would benefit. Getting people better, quickly, is a far more cost-efficient option than sneakily trying to privatise services and not putting in enough money to meet the needs of the service in the first place.

Laura Kelly


New Trump book reveals sad statements about President

Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury states Trump “is like a child… he needs instant gratification”. My grandson Milo (just two years old) is more mature than this, and he hasn’t got his small thumb on the nuclear button.

Mike Bor


According to the author, Michael Wolff, the President doesn’t read. So how would he know if Fire And Fury contained any libellous material? And if it does contain libellous material then surely this would be classified as alternative facts in Trumpworld?

Philip Parkin


It’s irresponsible to question Trump’s mental health

Although Trump is undoubtedly narcissistic, ignorant and offensive this doesn’t equate to a mental health problem. His incompetence does not equal illness, nor is someone with a mental illness necessarily unfit for the job.

Because of stigma, false accusations of mental illness have historically been used to delegitimise authority figures and I think it is important in our age that we guard against this. Trump is unfit to be president because of his contempt for democratic and judicial process, and his incitement of hatred and discrimination. We must not delegitimise genuine opposition by questioning his mental health with insufficient evidence.

Dr Matthew Christie

Address supplied

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