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22 April 2018 – Earth Day - began with the sun beaming through my bedroom window and thoughts of the previous day’s conversation at the Centre about environmental issues and our planned activity for the day. I must admit to tempting thoughts about a lazy breakfast and slow awakening, but one call to Lorraine put paid to that! Although, I must now thank Lorraine for stirring me from my sloth and torpor and for going ahead with the planned visit to our local superstore.
We duly arrived at 10am and did what was for both of us our normal weekly shop – mainly fruit and veggies – having gone through the till we set about removing the plastic packaging and piling it up on a nearby bench inside the store. Conscious of passing shoppers eyeing our activity with both interest and suspicion we took photographs and then mindfully placed all the wrapping in a bin bag and handed it to a store manager - stating that; we did not want it and would prefer it if all unnecessary and harmful packaging wasn’t there in the first place! I was very surprised by just how much plastic waste had piled up in our one mornings shop and we speculated that on average a superstore would see at least 5,000 customers per day. 5,000 bags of plastic waste in just one store, in just one area of the U.K.
Since then I have been busy researching the full extent of plastic waste across the globe and in our oceans. The figures are staggering; 8.3 BILLION METRIC TONS of plastic waste since it was introduced in the 1950’s and virtually every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in one form or another. Two million single use plastic bags are distributed and one million plastic bottles are bought every minute. 8 million metric tons of plastic ends up in our oceans every year. Viewing photographs online of the tragic impact this is having on wildlife is truly shocking and humbling.
With this in mind I have written this blog together with setting up a notice board at the Centre to keep attention focussed on this issue and to remind and encourage us all to play our part. Here is a list of 10 things you can do from now;
- Buy only unpackaged fruit and vegetables
- Give up plastic bottles and buy drinks, oil etc. in glass bottles
- Invest in stainless steel bottles or re-usable thermos flasks for hot and cold drinks
- Make your own packed lunch in re-usable lunch boxes
- Carry re-usable utensils in your bag or backpack
- Invest in cloth or recyclable bags for shopping – try to keep one with you when out and about
- Switch to bamboo tooth brushes
- Refuse single serving packaging, excess packaging, straws and other disposable plastics.
- Support recycling
- Spread the word – talk to family and friends about why it is important to reduce plastic in our lives and the impact that it is having on our planet, oceans and wildlife.