It can’t fail to have escaped your notice that reducing plastic waste features pretty highly on the political agenda right now with Theresa May’s “long term” plastic waste plan hitting the headlines earlier this month and many hitting back that it’s just not enough.
Until fairly recently my own awareness of plastic waste was fairly limited. Our local council provides us with a brown bin which we use for recycling glass and plastic bottles but I hadn’t really thought about what I could do to reduce our consumption generally until I read an article on bars stopping using single use plastic straws. I know when I was working in a bar around 2004 we used to put two small straws in every drink as it was proven that it would make people drink faster . . . and well it’s all business. But I hadn’t never considered the level of waste this created.
Having read this I decided that we would invest in some more environmentally friendly straws for use at home. I’m not really a fan of the paper ones as, whilst they look pretty, they do tend to just go a bit soggy before you’ve even finished your drink. I’ve not yet decided whether we go for silicone or stainless steel – though I think the metal ones have the edge.
At around the same time as I had started to research this a little further, Chloe came home from school all full of facts about how many straws they were using in her school each year and how damaging this was. She was fully enthused about looking after our world and the animals and how we mustn’t just keep throwing plastic away. Of course this is something I’m keen to encourage in her, though I was less impressed when she started trying to pick up other people’s litter on the way to school . . . “But it’s dirty! Make sure you wash your hands when you get to school . . . . ”
Inspired by Chloe’s new found enthusiasm to reduce waste, I actually remembered to take my own cup to Starbucks the other week (saving myself a few pence in the process). In terms of the 7 million disposable cups we use in the UK every single day, my one reusable mug is a drop in the ocean of course but if we can all start to make those drops, pretty soon we’d have a puddle and before we know it a flood.
Whilst I rolled my eyes when the 5p plastic bag tax was first introduced, there’s no denying it has worked. How many times have you found yourself with arms full of stuff having forgotten to take your reusable bag but refusing to pay 5p for a carrier bag? Our plastic bag consumption has been reduced by around 90% since the introduction of the tax.
Have you done anything to reduce your plastic waste recently? Any top tips to share?