Hey folks, how are we all? First off, I must warn you that today’s post is a slight deviation from my usual randomly misplaced objects and moaning about my family kind of posts. I’m not normally one to ram my opinions down people’s throats (because I know that I’m always right haha) but something has been playing on my mind for a while now:
Now, I was always under the impression that when you’ve finished with a plastic bottle, you find a recycling bin, deposit said bottle in the bin and the magic recycling fairies come and take the bottles away and turn them into new recyclable plastic items. Clearly I am missing a vital stage of the process here – the one where the bottles end up in the ocean, along with all sorts of other plastic crap – resulting in not only harming and even killing a large proportion of our sea life, but also releasing potentially toxic chemicals which are swallowed by marine life when they mistake a particle of plastic for a tasty snack. These toxins then become part of the food chain and we may ultimately find ourselves eating some yummy polluted food for dinner. Scary stuff eh?
There are several reasons why so much plastic is currently choking our oceans – some of which we can’t do anything about, others we definitely can. Now, I know the first argument about this is going to be that there is simply too much plastic wrapped around any goods that you buy from the supermarket and I couldn’t agree more. I have a hugely inspirational friend (it’s largely because of her that I’m writing this post) who is brilliant at championing causes and for Lent she has given up buying and using any items packaged in plastic. So far she has had to travel further than she would normally do to buy loose fruit and veg from the market in town, is rapidly running out of loo roll, and the only chocolate she can buy that isn’t packaged in plastic is Munchies or Cream Eggs. Oh, and her sons have suggested that she buy a cow to solve the issue of plastic bottled milk.
I’m sure these aren’t the biggest problems she has encountered. I had a go at this yesterday and can confirm that it is nigh-on impossible. I managed to get some loose fruit and veg but the remaining majority of it was packaged in plastic – most of which wasn’t recyclable. By the time I reached the yoghurt aisle, I’d lost the will to live – plastic is absolutely everywhere. Even by compromising and trying to find plastic packaging that is recyclable was an eye opener; it turns out that I’ve been putting loads of stuff out that I thought could be recycled when it can’t. An example of this is plastic squash bottles. Yes, the bottle can be recycled but the plastic label wrapped around the bottle can’t be, so it needs to be removed. Who actually has time to be checking for this on every piece of plastic packaging? Come on supermarkets, it’s time to grow a pair and start doing something that might make a small dent in your massive profits but would help save a tiny bit of our planet (I believe that Iceland has already started to address this so hats off to the God of frozen delights – I’ve always secretly loved your beige buffets).
I’m not just blaming manufacturers for this though – we also have huge part to play and I reckon there are a few things that we could easily do to start tackling the problem:
- Sign the petition for supermarkets to ditch plastic packaging (click here to sign) and then share it. If you can spend half an hour looking for a decent selfie of you with no make-up on to post on social media, you sure as heck can spend thirty seconds signing and sharing this!
- Take a carrier bag with you wherever you go. You never know when a quick visit to the shops for a pint of milk is going to turn into a ‘Ooh I got this chocolate because it was on offer, and it was three for two on teabags, and we were a bit low on puy lentils,’ and so on, so be prepared. I reckon every household has an almost endless stock of plastic bags stashed away. Roll one up and shove it in your pocket. Stick one in your bag. Heck, keep it down your sock if you’re feeling reckless. You may never need to buy another plastic bag again!
- Stop flushing shit down your loo. Obvs this doesn’t apply to the genuine article but do we really need to be flushing cotton buds, dental floss, sanitary towels, wipes or cotton wool down the pan? Stick a bin next to your bog. And maybe even a small recycling container for capturing the empty loo rolls that are clearly invisible as no family member seems able to replace one.
- If you do have time when you’re shopping, check if the packaging can be recycled. And if it can be recycled, then why not actually recycle it instead of throwing it in the bin? Or reuse it. Other parents used to find it highly amusing that Pud and I refilled empty shop-bought juice bottles with our own cordial once they were finished. Contrary to popular belief, this wasn’t to make our kids think we had an endless supply of Fruit Shoots, but to save on wastage. Who’s laughing now eh?
- If you can buy just a couple of items every week that aren’t packaged in plastic, please, please do so. Maybe if enough people buy enough loose fruit and veg in supermarkets, it will piss the cashiers off so much that they’ll start their own campaign for ditching the plastic!
- If there isn’t a bin around, take your litter home. And tell your kids to do the same. And perform a citizens arrest on anybody you see dropping litter. Unless they’re over six foot tall and built like a brick shit house. And they’re wielding a potentially dangerous weapon. In which case take their rubbish home for them.
And that’s it really. Easy little things that collectively could start to make some difference. Go on; give at least one of them a try, if you’re not already doing so. You know you want to save our planet really!
PS, I am not an eco-warrior. I just don’t want to break our beautiful planet.