Time for Change: Martin Cooper writes about plastic waste

08:00 15 February 2022

It’s hard to look at the headlines around the world – rising temperatures, extreme weather causing extreme flooding or horrendous heat and fires, the inaction of COP 26 – and to think that we can do anything about it. as individuals to protect our planet – but we certainly can!

Over the past 18 months we have seen the banning of plastic straws, plastic cotton swabs and plastic drink stirrers and we all know to carry a shopping bag with us or a bottle of water. refillable water with us when we go out – all of this helps reduce the amount of single use plastic products available to us.

But despite our best efforts, the main problem is single-use plastic items that we only use for a few minutes or days and cannot dispose of properly, which can remain on land and in the seas, damaging our environment. for hundreds of years – and there are so many.

In April this year, a tax will be introduced in the UK on plastic packaging that does not contain at least 30% recycled material, with the aim of encouraging businesses to think about the materials they use and to recycle more – it’s a start but will it encourage more recycling or will it just be accepted by companies that only pay the tax?

A recent government public consultation asked whether plastic plates and cutlery should be banned.

While the feeling is good and single-use plastic is further reduced, the problem with these items is more of a change of mindset from the disposable culture we’re used to – they’re convenient and don’t require planning. nor thinking.

There are many alternatives to plastic, or different ways of doing things that may not be so simple, but by making these simple changes it will have a lasting impact on our environment – in a positive rather than a negative way!

Since opening a year ago, my shop has reduced the number of single-use plastic packaging and bottles for cleaning products or foodstuffs by more than 15,000 items, through reuse and refilling – a small drop in the ocean, but it’s a start.

By refusing to buy new and with a little planning and preparation we can, by making smarter choices by reusing what we have and reducing what we send to landfill.

Bryce K. Locke