Thursday 12th January saw the launch of the PM’s strategy to tackle the excess plastic waste in the UK and in developing countries. That sounds fantastic, yes, the government is finally tackling the issue head on.... in the next 25 years.
Whilst any progress is good progress, a 25 year lead time on actual impact seems excessive to me, an average individual living in the UK. To me, this is clear evidence of why we shouldn’t be waiting around for 25 years for our government to make a difference to the planet, actually we should be starting now. If every individual made a couple of small changes, we’d make a lot more progress in 25 years than some vague promised from a small number of politicians.
So, instead of waiting 25 years here are three things you can do in the next 25 minutes to start tackling our national plastic waste problem:-
1. Buy a reusable travel cup. There are loads out there and whilst I wouldn’t go as far to say that any reusable mug is better than no reusable cup, it’s not far off at this point. Look out for environmentally friendly ones. For the money minded out there, yes it will cost you but there are many coffee shops that offer a 5-20p discount on your hot drink for bringing your own cup..if you buy a hot beverage on your way to work every day..you’ll make your money back in a month or two and have a clear conscience.
2. Put an empty carrier bag in your hand bag/work bag/pocket.As the phrase goes “reduce, reuse, recycle” - so this is focussing on the reuse part. I know I for one collect plastic bags and I don’t even know how. I do my best to say no and carry my own but they still accumulate. So instead of just throwing them out of leaving them around to get holes in, put them back in your bag/coat that you go out in so you’ve always got one handy! You could always buy a reusable material bag, but if we want to save some pennies this works for now. Once your plastic bags break (and you have recycled them) perhaps consider a material investment instead?
3. Get those plastic bottles out the bin! Sounds pretty grim, but will make such a difference. Give the outside a wash with soap and water and voila: a bottle for you to fill with a beverage of your choice to take with you when you’re out and about. It means you don’t have to buy your drinks in plastic bottles and if you’re a water drinker, most cafés/restaurants will be more than happy to fill up your water free of charge, just ask! You could always buy a reusable bottle, but thinking of saving our pennies...this is a good option for now.
Quick, easy solutions that will help the planet from now (and save you some pennies now and pounds in the next 25 years!)