Green Issues: Plastic… less waste more speed

Are we getting a bit fed up with hearing about plastic all the time? Is it one of those things that we know is important but it’s making us dig our heels in with the ‘greenies’ ramming it down our throats constantly?

Probably. However, I am amazed at what has been achieved in such a small amount of time.

Since David Attenborough’s programme that enlightened us all to the huge problem of plastic, there have been some real changes happening, and ones that have made a massive difference. Not only do most of us now own a reusable drinks bottle or coffee cup, our children no longer have plastic straws, we all have at least one cloth ‘bag for life’ that goes everywhere with us, West Devon can now recycle plastic food trays at the kerb, any flimsy carrier bag is biodegradable and the rest are reusable and can be recycled. The list goes on.

Although still fairly highly priced, we can now easily access bamboo, reusable or compostable toothbrushes, toothpaste in glass jars, deodorant in compostable containers, dishwasher tablets in recyclable wrapping and boxes. You can refill your washing up liquid/laundry liquid/surface cleaner bottles in many more places and pretty much all shops will now assist in placing products into your own reusable containers. Some supermarkets have a bin by the tills where you can take the plastic off the products you buy and leave it for them to recycle.

A 23 year-old design student from the University of Sussex has recently won the international James Dyson award for creating ‘plastic’ from marine waste. Lucy Hughes was originally looking at ways to reduce marine waste which totals 50 million tonnes a year. She took fish scales and combined them with algae and other marine based ingredients, and created MarinaTex.

The waste from one Atlantic cod can produce 1,400 MarinaTex bags. The product is fully compostable, breaks down in just six weeks and is stronger than a standard plastic bag. I can’t wait for this and other similar inventions to become all that is available when we buy prepacked sandwiches and other products. However, let us not become complacent! We’ll all no doubt end up with plastic in our black bags over the Christmas period; it will be hard to avoid it completely. But remember to try and think about what you’re buying and seek an alternative to plastic if there is one.

Greenpeace have recently launched a campaign to keep the pressure up on supermarkets as it was revealed that in 2018, rather than reducing the amount of plastic on their shelves, most of them did, in fact, increase it!

Waitrose won the best effort award by reducing their plastic output by 2.1% and Aldi won the worst offender by increasing theirs by 8.8%. Sainsbury’s have pledged to reduce their plastic usage by 50% in the next five years and Waitrose have trialled refill stations. Greenpeace say pledges and trials are a good start, however now is the time to make good on those things and act. Commit. Do it. To support Greenpeace in this campaign, go to https://secure.greenpeace.org.uk/page/s/plastic-free-supermarkets

Thank you to all readers of The Moorlander who support what we do, and don’t complain about my complaining! Have a very Merry (and ethical, and plastic free, and local!) Christmas and best wishes for the new year to you all.

Laura White

Author: Laura White

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