A year ago a very good friend of mine went to Fiji as a volunteer – assessing the shark population, much of which is endangered. He came back with fantastic photos of sharks and their young offspring, and of the coral reefs, but also with horrendous stories about how dis-eased the waters are. Our oceans are dying – and one of the chief killers is the sheer volume of plastic swirling around. We listened to our friend, and were horrified too, but most of us did nothing.
A few months ago I read an article in the Washington Post which states that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the seas than fish.
That made me think again, but again I did nothing, though my conscience was stirred.
Some fact digging unearthed some stark results. We humans produce about 300 million tonnes of plastic every year – and more than half of this we use just once and then throw it away. Only, according to Sir David Attenborough, there is no ‘away’ because plastic is permanent and indestructible. “When you cast it into the ocean — does not go away”
Then you my friends started this blog as a spin off from your experiment of living without plastic – and then another friend took up her challenge of no plastics for Lent. I’ve followed you both (On Facebook) with interest and got others checking how you’re doing – what progress you’ve been making, some of the biggest challenges and those sweet victories too..
I’ve started to watch what’s happening around us – and a lot of it isn’t pretty. On Facebook I’ve seen pictures of fruit (whole arranges!) packaged in plastic cases – and can’t work out why on earth it’s allowed – or why people buy such products in the first place. And I react badly to the multinationals serving coffee in paper cups with plastic lids, encouraging people to have their coffee “on the go” instead of taking time out of their schedule for a well deserved break. Both telltale signs of a world gone mad in my opinion!
But pointing a finger at others isn’t helpful! And so most importantly because of your blogs I’ve felt compelled to look at, assess and adjust our family’s use of plastics too. That’s been helped by our neighbourhood installing its first plastic recycling collection point, and as we’ve begun to sort plastics (in addition to paper, glass etc) what I’ve observed isn’t pretty either! (Even though in Finland all water, pop, beer and wine bottles carry a deposit and have to be returned and reused by the manufacturers – it’s a fantastic system and shops cannot opt out!) our family produce a lot of plastic waste – shampoo bottles, jogurt cartons and packaging from meat and cheese in particular.
Is what I’m observing making me change my habits? That’s the real question I think.
My current practices are to commit to
1. Making as much of our plastic waste as possible get to the recycling.
2. Refusing to buy bottled water and using a refillable bottle-( this isn’t a new practice but I’ve been more intentional about it)
3. Being more observant about packaging and choosing products with no/ less plastic. On principle I will boycott fruit in plastic, but also try to buy more loose produce instead of prepackaged ones, and use paper or biodegradable plastic bags for loose fruit and veggies.
Liz, however, set one clear challenge
Choose just one thing to change. Make one unsustainable thing sustainable.
I am still pondering what that might be … But I know I can find one thing to change, one product to forgo, and then another.
Thank you for inspiring me!