In October 2018, the UN warned that the world has only 12 years in which to limit catastrophic climate change. That stark warning comes on top of growing environmental awareness, driven by noted documentary makers such as Sir David Attenborough, whose Blue Planet 2 series highlighted the disastrous effect of plastics pollution on marine wildlife.

That helped push the issue of plastic waste up the political agenda, as MPs in the UK, for example, called on supermarket chains to eliminate plastic packaging from their products by 2023. Politicians with an eye to the main chance also seized on a minor aspect of plastic pollution and managed to ban plastic straws, which are not much in the greater scheme of things (discarded fishing gear is the greatest ocean polluter).