Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – Promoting Reusable Plastics
Last month as I celebrated another birthday it came with the internal shift I’d been dreading. I knew it was coming, it had stabbed at me as I flicked through TV channels; icebergs collapsing and turtles being untangled from plastic bags flashed before my eyes. Hastily fumbling with the remote I’d switch it off. I didn’t want to think about it, or hardest of all, take responsibility for one single piece of it.
The outside world was almost worse, as I couldn’t switch it off. My morning commute on the train was filled with the static sound of rustling plastic packaging as people tucked into their prepackaged breakfasts. After side stepping numerous items of rubbish littering the ground, I’d reach my place of work and try my best to keep the office bin out of my line of vision, which would be slowly filling with disposable coffee cups even though our kitchen provided this luxury for free with reusable, branded, ceramic mugs.
I don’t want to think about the enormity of the issue, it’s overwhelming. I feared that if I opened the thought process, I’d be flooded with passion, anger and action. I didn’t want to be the girl giving the lecture over a silent dinner party about reusable straws, or trolling food review websites leaving aggressive feedback about the plastic cutlery which I didn’t ask for but came with my order. However, after reaching 26 years on this planet, I’ve finally accepted the fact that there comes a point when you have to take responsibility for yourself and your planet. I realised I have a voice, and if something doesn’t sit right, don’t ignore it, instead question and probe it.
I don’t lecture people I see opting for disposable cups, throw away plates and trays, but I do discuss when appropriate because that’s how opinions are formed. I don’t understand when it became cool not to care- I wasn’t born with the instinct to separate my recycling, but after being educated on it through discussion and research I formed an opinion and could see only the positive impact it could have. My main issue with people who opt for the one use products is the obvious lack of long term thinking, believing just because they put something in the bin, that that’s the end of its life cycle. Out of sight, out of mind. A single plastic bottle can take 450 years to decompose, and a plastic bag up to 1000 years. Gulp.
Which brings me on to recycling. It’s good to recycle, there’s no denying that and it should be something we all incorporate into our everyday lives, but we shouldn’t just be focusing on that and believing it’s our good deed for the day. Reduction and reuse are the ways forward. If you choose to refill your own water bottle everyday, instead of purchasing one, or bring your own shopping bag instead of paying for the single use one, you have stopped the issue at the root of the source, and therefore the energy and production that it takes to dispose of them even through recycling has been avoided.
So next time you fancy a coffee, why not grab a reusable one? It’s kind to your wallet but even kinder to our planet.