Many of us by now are bored stiff with the subject of recycling, but now the horrific facts of plastics pollution are better known it’s obvious this is a matter of absolute urgency emergency. Here are two ideas we can all easily action to make things better. We can all make a difference and we must start now.
The obvious thing we can do to alleviate plastics pollution is use less plastics! To achieve that we have to change our attitudes. How to do that? Let’s start with the plastics bottles that are choking some of our rivers and oceans.
A glance into any supermarket reveals vast numbers of drinks in plastic bottles. Clearly there is massive consumption of these every day! There is no reason why those bottles can’t be re-used many times, but the majority are thrown away after only one use.
For years I’ve been carrying a beaten up old plastic Evian bottle filled with tap water when I travel. And when my beloved bottle eventually has to be laid to rest, I would never throw it into the sea or anywhere else, except in a bin earmarked for plastics recycling.
If you don’t want to do that, you can now buy purpose-made reusable bottles almost everywhere.
Also worrying is the proliferation of single-use takeaway coffee cups.
Only 1 in 400 (0.25%) of the estimated 2.5 billion plastic coated coffee cups used in the UK each year is recycled. 4% (approximately 500,000) are littered every day. The rest (95.75%) go to landfill. Many compostable alternatives also go to landfill as there aren’t enough accessible facilities in the UK to compost them.
Fortunately, some high street cafes are doing something about this, and they need our support.
The Boston Tea Party chain says, “We stopped using plastic straws and bottles some time ago, … and now we have stopped issuing single-use coffee cups”. Customers can bring their own re-useable cups or buy a re-useable cup from the shop. Alternatively they can use the shop’s loan cup scheme.
Costa are “working hard to ensure more [one-use cups] are being recycled”. The company’s aims eventually to “recycle the same volume of cups we put onto the market.”
Prêt a Manger offer “a 50p discount for customers bringing their own re-usable cups.” They aim to make their cups 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025 and to eliminate all single-use plastics in their UK stores. They have also launched a range of re-usable bottles for sale.
That’s the kind of behaviour we need to support.
Starbucks are also trying to improve recycling of one-use cups. Additionally, they offer 25p discount when you bring in your own container, and sell a £1 reusable cup in their stores.
The retailers and, by default, we consumers, have far more power than governments to facilitate the necessary changes. Will we support this? I do hope that people power will prevail and we will help towards making not only this sceptred Isle, but this whole sparkling planet, just that much cleaner and brighter and healthier.
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