I WAS delighted to receive this month my winter edition of the Historic Scotland magazine, enclosed in a potato-starch wrap that is 100 per cent compostable. I can dispose of it in my garden bin, or use it to line my food waste caddy. In the same post, I received some Christmas cards from a reputable charitable organisation, accompanied by a plastic ballpoint pen which I neither need nor want; I get them sent to me all the time and I have hundreds of them and I don’t know how to dispose of them.

According to Martin Dorey, author of No. More. Plastic. What you can do to make a difference (Ebery Press, 2018), the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is now estimated to cover more than 60 times the UK’s land mass.

I recently challenged myself to have a plastic-free week, and, for example, bought my vegetables unwrapped, or in brown paper bags from a local farm shop. If we all refuse to buy stuff wrapped in plastic, most of which cannot be recycled, then the supermarkets will surely take the hint and switch to something akin to potato-starch.

Dr Hamish Maclaren,

1 Grays Loan, Thornhill, Stirling.