Hot topic this month; plastic.
Has anyone watched the new 3-part series War On Plastic that the BBC showcased? Very interesting to see how many of us don’t know how to recycle the plastic we use and how it can differ so much; plastic is plastic right? Well, it’s clear that that is completely not the case and as a result, has spurred me to write this post.
Plastic bottles were banned at Glastonbury Festival 2019. The festival has sought to minimise the use of plastic in previous years by introducing environmentally friendly stainless-steel bottles and pint cups and offering cost-free water kiosks. However, this is the first time a ban has been rolled out at the festival which has got us all talking and even got Sir David Attenborough out onto the stage. This has been a top headline across the board this summer, with organisers of the festival encouraging not only plastic-free July but providing an audience of captivated people the confidence to change their mind-set on how plastic can badly affect the environment. Greenpeace estimate that, globally, up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans each year. Greenpeace advises that by far the best way to avoid plastic pollution is to reduce plastic usage. With more than one million plastic bottles sold at Glastonbury in 2017, stopping their sale would be a fantastic way to make an impact on reducing plastic that could potentially be dumped into the ocean
Plastic Free July is a campaign led by the Plastic Free Foundation, an organisation created to encourage & educate people, globally, to make a difference in the way they reduce & rethink single-use plastic usage. Their vision is to see a world without any plastic waste whatsoever. To emphasise this further, whilst on the Glastonbury stage, Sir David Attenborough said “The oceans cover two-thirds of this planet of ours. Land only covers one-third of the globe.” This highlights how plastic can be of harm to the sea and the creatures living in it.
Let’s start with the easy items: fruit & vegetables. A lot of fruit and veg can be bought loose without the need of any plastic packaging, bananas are a good one, along with peppers, onions, and avocados. But what if your regular supermarket doesn’t provide the choice between packaged and loose? Well, time to change up where you shop. Initially, start with small steps. Utilise what you can in your current supermarket and get as many groceries as you can without plastic associated with them. Once you’ve maxed it out and gotten used to it, check out other places that could offer plastic-free goods that your current supermarket doesn’t. A fantastic option is a local green grocers; a lot of the time they will have goods which are sourced locally, therefore reduce the carbon footprint of the food you buy even further, plus with the bonus that the majority of the food is stored loose straight from the supplier. Do you ever remember the times as a child when your grandparents and parents would take you to a local green grocer to get the weekly items? The smells of each different piece of produce would entice the senses and draw you in. Granted, a lot of the time I didn’t particularly like the smell as a kid, but I’ve developed a holistic perspective for the smell as I’ve grown older.
With what we thought was a dying opportunity for local butchers, green grocers, bakeries and dairy farms, I believe the younger generations of today are making smarter choices to reignite the “old-fashioned” way of food shopping. But the dilemma comes from most local produce shops coming with a much higher price tag than most supermarket chains – granted respectfully this is down to many factors they have to include to make a profit and to keep business alive. So my take on this would be to shop everything you can that doesn’t have plastic on at your major supermarket, and then top up the rest at your local grocer – I mean, have you smelt freshly baked bread… baby.
But that’s just food, what else can I do? First and foremost, forget plastic straws. If you haven’t seen a video of a traumatised and in-pain turtle with a lodged straw up its nose, where have you been?! Paper straws aren’t really the one, they tend to go downhill very quickly when they’re used for the job they were tasked to do…. So! Get yourself a reusable straw that folds up and fits in your bag, pocket or resting on your ear like a classic pencil. Maybe not the latter.. Another option is to keep shopping bags in your car, because we always pop to the shop for a few loose peppers… and end up being the proud owner of aisle 5. Once you’ve brought the shopping in, dump them by the front door, not stuff them in a drawer or in one of those containers that holds all your shopping bags; it’ll remind you to put them back in the car as you’ll get sick of the sight of them sitting in the hallway like an unwelcome spider.
Any other options? Invest in 2 good water bottles and coffee cup/flask. Wait, why 2 water bottles? Get yourself different sizes girlfriend – 1 that fits in a handbag, backpack etc, that doesn’t feel like the weight of transporting a few bricks; and a larger one for the office & home so you don’t have to annoy yourself by getting up and down to refill all the time. And the coffee cup? Well there are a couple of perks to this one; 1. Everyone has a favourite cup at home, why not have a favourite cup that you can take anywhere and keeps your beverage safe? 2. You can receive a discount at a majority of coffee shops when using your own cup. Look out for a sign that encourages you to bring your own cup in exchange for money off your brew – and even if it doesn’t, take it anyway because you’ll be drinking from your favourite cup = winner!
So to round up:
- 1. Buy as much food as you can without plastic
- 2. Try out the local produce from green grocers, butchers, bakeries and dairy farms
- 3. Get a reusable straw
- 4. Make sure you have your shopping bags in the car *always*
- 5. Invest in water bottles and a new favourite coffee cup
So that’s all folks! Write a comment below if any of these tips helped, plus whether you have any other ideas on what we can all collectively do to reduce the amount of plastic we use. I’m looking forward to hearing ideas!… Whilst I sip coffee from my favourite cup. Matt.
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