We all make new year’s resolutions. As 2017 drew to a close, we as a family asked ourselves this simple question; could we recycle just that little bit more?
Fast forward three entire months and Easter has past us by. During the Easter break I had time to read several articles posted by the BBC and the Guardian that focused on the looming plastic crisis in our oceans. I hadn’t realised the scale of the plastic problem. A recent BBC article reported that the “Great Pacific Garage Patch” located between California and Hawaii is a build up of plastic that is an estimated 80,000 tonnes! A figure that is up to sixteen times greater than previously reported.
As I read this I remember feeling stunned and speechless. I wondered; what could I do to help – what part could I play to assist? The answer for our family sits within our new year’s resolution.
Since the 1st of January our recycling has increased significantly. We wash out bottles and cans before putting them in our recycling bin. Our mission to recycle more has even begun to influence our purchasing habits. Supermarkets are guilty of excess packaging. Why do a bunch of bananas require a plastic sleeve which are then placed within a plastic bag? As a result we now buy our groceries from local greengrocers as the fruit and vegetables are placed in paper bags. The same is true of meat. Buying meat from a local butcher vastly reduces our plastic footprint. There are of course added benefits. We are also supporting the local economy at the same time – another important mission of ours as we run small, local businesses.
Small changes in behaviour can have big results. For example, drinking from a can is more environmentally friendly than drinking from a plastic bottle. The can is 100% recyclable whereas a plastic bottle will take 450 years to completely degrade.
The proposed deposit scheme for bottles and cans may even influence people’s choices. This in turn could decrease the amount of sugar that is consumed.
It will take society to change in order for us to reduce our dependency on plastic. I have no doubt that thousands of families across the UK are recycling every day. A comforting thought indeed.