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A Slice of Green A Warne AB Packaging Abaca Packaging Ah! Table! Algalife Algopack Algotek All 4 Labels Allied Glass Amipak Amphorea Amy Jade Creations Ardagh Group Ardalanish Arjowiggins Astu Eco AVANI BagasseWare Baker Labels Bakergoodchild Ball Bambu BASF Beatson Clark Best Practice Packaging LLC. Better Packaging Billerwkorsnas Bio Bag UK Bio Viron Bio4Life Bio4Pack BIOFASE Biome Plastics Biopac Biopak Biopap BioTAK Biotec Biotrem Butterfly Cup Bysshe CamVac Carapac Carters Packaging Cartulinas CMPC Celanese Cellcomb Chapelton Board CKF Clondalkin Coburger Cocccon Cocoform Cocolok Coconutbowls Coir Lanka Cole Fabrics Colombier Colourform Colpac Columbia Pulp Comp Bio COSIBRA Cotton Barons Coveris Covim Creapaper Crown Holdings Croxsons Glass Cullen Cupffee Cygnus Eco Danimer Scientific Dans Le Sac Decent Packaging Delipac Dempson Direct Packaging Ltd Do Eat Do Your Bit Down2Earth DUNI Earth Distributors Earth Friendly Foodware Earthable ® Earths Tribe East Kent Cartons East Yorkshire Hemp Eco Safe Eco Tensil Ecofoil Ecological Textiles Ecomenu Ecomojiware Ecotainer Ecovaganza Ecovative Elevate Packaging ElPack Emerald City Enviro Textiles Enviropack Enviropak Envopap Ethical Ernie Evesham EVLON Evoware Fabri-Kal FF Packaging Fibre Bio Fibre Form Fibrepak Fiesta Green Fleet Luxury Flexi-Hex Floreon Fold-Pak Footprint Four Eco Foxpak Friendlypak Frusack Futamura Gaia Biomaterials Good Life Grado Zero Innovation Graphic Packaging Green Cell Green Gate Green Sax Greenman Packaging HAVI Healthy Eco Hemp Black, Inc Hemp Fabric Lab Hemporium Herbal Fab Himalayan Wild Fibres Hugh Jordan Huhtamaki Hunter Luxury Huski Home Huskup I2R Iggesund InkReadible International Paper James Cropper Jardin Corrugated Jars Direct Jelld Packaging Jerry Just Straw KANEKA Karmic Seed KeCo KINYI Kotkamills Lactips Lean Orb Lenzing Libeco LignoPure Little Cherry Little Green Panda Loliware London Bio Packaging Magic Film Magnum Packaging Maibao Maistic Make Grow Lab Marinatex Marleys Monsters Massilly UK Ltd Masteroast Metsa Board Monadnock Mushroom Packaging My Element Myco Works National Flexible Natur Tec Nature & My Nature Works (Ingeo) Natureflex Naturesse NEFFA Nettle Fibre Company noissue NOTPLA Novamont Nutscene O Eco Textiles O-I Glass Offset Offset Warehouse OOMPH! Orange Fibre Organic Silks ORGANOID Packhelp Pactiv Panda Packaging Paper Pulp Solutions Paper Straw People PaperFoam PaperWise Paptic Parkside Pattesons Glass Ltd Pick Natural Pinatex Planglow Plant Made Bottles Plastiroll (Bioska) Polybags Precious Planet Priory Press Ptt MCC Biochem Pulp2Pack PURE Labels QMilk Quintessential Ranpak RawPac RBECO Reel Brands Repaq ReSpiin Riji KCC SABERT Samatoa Lotus Textiles Sana Packaging Sappi SBKG Scitech Seaman Paper Seidentraum SFI Tanzania Shredhouse Ltd Simplifi Fabric Sirane SmartSolve SMC Smurfkit Kappa Solublue Soul Bottles Southern Cross Packaging Spear Coco Spinnova Starlight Sticky Labels Stolzle Glass Group Stora Enso Storopack Sun Packaging Sunkea Surepak Suzano Swanline Taghleef Industries Tea Direct Terracaps Tessile Eco Bio Test Valley The Cloth House The Great British Paper Straw Company The Hemp Shop The Jute Shop The Wheat Straws Company Thought Threads of Peru Tinplate Tinware Direct TIPA Total Papers Trama Textiles Transcend Packaging Transpack Tri-Star Tulsack Turtle Bags Tyler Packaging UB Pack USO Bio VEGEA Vegware Viscose Visican Voidfill VPZ Walki Westfield Thermoform Whole Packs Wild Fibres Wild Silk Markets Wilkins Wool Cool YRG Group Yuggen Zeoform Zest Packaging ZS Fabrics
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A Slice of Green A Warne AB Packaging Ah! Table! Algalife Algopack Allied Glass Amipak Amphorea Ardagh Group Ardalanish Arjowiggins Baker Labels Bakergoodchild Ball BASF Beatson Clark Billerwkorsnas Bio Bag UK Bio Viron Bio4Life Bio4Pack BIOFASE Biome Plastics Biopac Biopap BioTAK Biotec Biotrem Butterfly Cup Bysshe CamVac Carters Packaging Cellcomb Chapelton Board CKF Clondalkin Coburger Cocccon Cocoform Cocolok Coconutbowls Cole Fabrics Colourform Colpac Comp Bio Cotton Barons Covim Creapaper Cullen Cupffee Cygnus Eco Delipac Dempson Direct Packaging Ltd Do Eat Do Your Bit Down2Earth DUNI Earth Friendly Foodware East Kent Cartons East Yorkshire Hemp Ecofoil Ecological Textiles Ecomenu Ecovaganza ElPack Enviropack Enviropak Ethical Ernie Evesham FF Packaging Fibre Bio Fibre Form Fibrepak Fiesta Green Fleet Luxury Flexi-Hex Floreon Four Eco Foxpak Frusack Gaia Biomaterials Good Life Grado Zero Innovation Green Cell Green Gate Green Sax Greenman Packaging HAVI Hugh Jordan Huhtamaki Hunter Luxury Huski Home Huskup I2R Iggesund InkReadible James Cropper Jardin Corrugated Jars Direct Jelld Packaging Jerry Just Straw KeCo Kotkamills Lactips Lenzing Libeco LignoPure Little Cherry London Bio Packaging Magnum Packaging Maistic Make Grow Lab Marinatex Massilly UK Ltd Masteroast Metsa Board My Element National Flexible Nature & My Natureflex Naturesse NEFFA Nettle Fibre Company NOTPLA Novamont Nutscene O Eco Textiles O-I Glass Offset Offset Warehouse OOMPH! Orange Fibre Organic Silks ORGANOID Packhelp Panda Packaging Paper Pulp Solutions Paper Straw People PaperFoam PaperWise Paptic Parkside Pattesons Glass Ltd Pinatex Planglow Plant Made Bottles Plastiroll (Bioska) Polybags Precious Planet Priory Press QMilk Quintessential RawPac RBECO Reel Brands Repaq ReSpiin Riji KCC SABERT Scitech Shredhouse Ltd Sirane SMC Smurfkit Kappa Solublue Soul Bottles Southern Cross Packaging Spinnova Starlight Sticky Labels Stolzle Glass Group Stora Enso Storopack Sun Packaging Surepak Swanline Tea Direct Terracaps Tessile Eco Bio Test Valley The Cloth House The Hemp Shop The Wheat Straws Company Tinplate Tinware Direct Transcend Packaging Transpack Tri-Star Turtle Bags Tyler Packaging USO Bio VEGEA Vegware Viscose Visican Voidfill VPZ Westfield Thermoform Whole Packs Wild Fibres Wilkins Wool Cool YRG Group Yuggen Zest Packaging
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Most people avoid spilling their guts in public. But Liz Bonnin didn’t blanch when she was invited to test for everything that shouldn’t be in her body at the Plastic Health Summit in Amsterdam.

“I said I can’t wait, let’s do it,” laughs the Bafta-winning nature documentary presenter. “I was really excited. I knew what was going to show up but I want the world to know.”

Bonnin has had a front-row seat to the devastation wrought by plastics upon ecosystems. Last year she presented the ground-breaking BBC One documentary Drowning in Plastic, grimacing as she and her team ran cameras over baby seals strangled by plastic rope and a dead gull with a belly full of bottle tops. “And yet I still find myself standing in queues for coffee glaring at people who don’t have a reusable cup, thinking ‘what’s going on? Don’t you know that our oceans are dying?’” she says.

Last week’s summit represented the first time the world’s top scientists had gathered to explore research on the impact of plastic on human health. “Until now this hasn’t really been explored and that’s why there’s such a frustrating lack of funding into research,” Bonnin says. On stage, she received the results of a urine test revealing the levels of potentially harmful plastic-related chemicals in her body.

“The test results came back and I thought OK, I have these chemicals, and I can talk about them, that’s my job. But I did take a moment when it sunk in that the reality of the way we live had defused cancer-causing chemicals into my body. It was quite sobering and upsetting. Then I got on a train to Amsterdam and told everyone about it. I’m hoping it will help us to wake up.”

A growing body of evidence is pointing to the presence of microplastics and plastic additives in humans. Last year researchers at the Medical University of Vienna found 20 microplastic particles in every 10 grams of stool. “Plastic is a wonder material,” Bonnin insists, pointing to its use in MRI machines, life-saving equipment and aeronautics engineering. “But we have to look at how we dispose of it, and also how we make that material without these toxic chemicals. We have to be more mindful about how these plastic-based machines are made. But 40 per cent of all the plastic that’s made is this single-use food or drink packaging. That’s the bit that makes me want to tear my hair out.”

The Plastic Health Summit pushed a new line, however, arguing that “plastic is the new tobacco”. It’s the wake-up call Bonnin thinks we need. “Now that it’s human health we can show being impacted, are we going to sit up and pay attention?” she asks.

Bonnin’s test found pthalates and bisphenols — additives used in the production of plastic — in her body. They are said to leach in from food containers (like your microwave ready meal) and piping used in food manufacture. “The good news, I suppose, is they were found in lower concentrations than the average person in Amsterdam, and were lower than the average in an American study,” she says.

But “they’re harmful at a very low dose” and “interfere with your hormone function”. Such endocrine disruptors are linked to “hormone mediated disorders”, including “hormone mediated cancers, like breast cancer” while these chemicals “are also known to be toxic to reproduction”. They can affect fertility and cause conditions like endometriosis, when bits of the tissue that lines the uterus grow on other pelvic organs, causing pain, and “they can cause foetal abnormali-ties and birth defects.”

Although Bonnin notes the academic consensus expressed at the summit is still pending further study (a paper on microplastics​ in the blood is due in soon), she’s adamant that the damage plastics cause is unconscionable.

“What this test showed was that I’m being exposed to them and excreting them constantly — so as much as they cause harm for a short period of time before my body filters them out, the harm they’re causing is continuous.”

It’s not easy to put your body on the line. Bonnin is stark about the emotional toll her work has on her. She frequently finds herself enraged. “I am struggling,” she adds. She says she meditates a lot. “I haven’t tried screaming into a pillow yet, but who knows, I might?”

If all this sounds too gloomy, she’s “hopeful, albeit through gritted teeth” that humanity has the capacity to reverse its own impact. “There has to be room for hope but, my golly, we’re cutting it fine,” she says. “You know, I’m a big fan of [BBC presenter] Chris Packham, and he truly believes that the human race, at the moment, is like an unruly teenager, being a bit nonsensical and a bit silly. And eventually it’s going to just grow up and pull up its socks and get on with it. But let’s not rely on the younger generation and all that nonsense. I apologise to every one of these incredible young environmentalists for not taking better care of their future, right? It’s on us.”

She thinks Greta Thunberg is an inspiration. “I mean the girl’s extraordinary, when people criticise the UN talk all I saw was this young woman so fed up, so at the end of her tether with the same nonsense she was being spouted by those in power. I so felt for her.”

The September climate marches “give me hope that we’re making our voices heard in a way that’s unprecedented in our history”, she says.

Bonnin believes the emergence of politicians like Elizabeth Warren and Alessandra Ocasio-Cortez who refuse money from industry lobby groups is “essential”. She believes the need to pivot to a more conservationist economy is urgent. “Everything that comes out of David Attenborough’s mouth is the most glorious quote, but my favourite is ‘anybody who thinks you can have infinite growth on a planet with finite resources is either crazy or an economist.’ ”

She maintains, though, that there’s still grounds for producing nature documentaries that show the planet at its best, rather than the stark reality of man’s impact on ecosystems. “Because for me, I know that’s what got me to love my planet. And, when it comes to the good news and the bad news, I think there’s room for both.”