The news this week that there has been no slowdown in global warming highlights just how fragile our relationship with the environment is. It makes us question our individual role in contributing to big issues like global warming and think about the ways they can counteract the negative impact we, as individuals and businesses, have on the environment.
Growing up, I remember faulty appliances being fixed by either my grandad or at a local repair shop - where a man with a never-ending array of tools would get the job done. We bought when we needed, not when we wanted. We wasted nothing. And I'm not talking about the middle of the 20th Century; I grew up in the late 90's.
Moving towards this lifestyle isn't easy and changing the way people consume fashion is a behavior that has been set for years. People can't get discouraged and need to remember that every small step they take is making an impact. So, here are some simple ways to incorporate recycling, reusing, and repurposing into your lifestyle.
It's estimated that 2.5billion coffee cups end up in landfill every year. It's sadly undeniable that we have a cultural problem with litter blighting our beautiful countryside: a leaf-denuded autumnal hedge pockmarked with flapping supermarket plastic bags is viscerally awful, and what a miserable scene a litter-strewn high street is at any time of the year.
In fact this might be a solution for us nostalgic late adopters. If I branch out into finding a way to use technology to fix other people's old-fashioned pre-loved goods as well as selling my own I can relinquish my late-adopter status and be the beginning of something that is just beginning to grow. Refurbished rolodex anyone?
The French government has made a bold decision this week in the name of reducing waste and tackling climate change - good on them! By committing to ban disposable cups and plates by 2020 - except those that are completely compostable - France is taking a huge step towards tackling the one million coffee cups that reach landfill every minute. Perhaps it's time that Britain took the leap?
It feels wrong to be advocating recycling less. And especially during Recycle Week, when I feel like I should really be championing recycling and encouraging everyone to recycle as much as they can. And don't get me wrong. I am a big supporter of recycling, and an advocate of recycling. But only if we've explored all the other options in the 'Waste Hierarchy' first.
Our present economic model, which could be described as 'take, make, dispose', has generated significant improvements in our standard of living, but is also harming us. According to the World Health Organisation, each year twenty times more people die of diseases linked to mismanagement of waste and pollutants than die from malaria.
Yes, we need to recycle. We need big companies to be transparent about their sustainability credentials, and we need to challenge 'greenwash', but more importantly than that, we all need to be creating change ourselves. And that doesn't just mean sending an angry tweet or signing a petition. It means actual physical changes to our behaviours.
What concerns me is that the verbal ripostes create a greater degree of negativity around an industry that needs to transform - consumers and producers both need to undergo a huge number of life changes. How are we going to do that, when the most significant players in the industry are seemingly at odds with each other?
As I watch 50 moist, perfectly round mini quiches mercilessly thrust into a waste bin, flakes of pastry and cheese fluttering from their industrial tray into a dark gaping mouth, my stomach sinks. The caterer promptly puts the tray down and continues her waste rampage, efficiently ridding the kitchen of leftover food from an event.