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The Single Use Plastic Debate – Are We Killing Our Planet?

There’s lots of news going around about single use plastic and how we need to protect the environment and our oceans.  I totally agree with that, although I doubt anything we do will counter the plastic coming into the oceans and landfill from China and India, but still, every little helps.  Are we killing our planet with laziness in the single use plastic debate?

I don’t like to see this, or far worse pictures I’ve seen in the media.

The point of this post though, is that I am struggling.  As much as I try, I forget to take reusable bags to supermarkets quite frequently, and then have to buy more, but I never throw mine away after the one use.  I used to reuse them as dog poo bags, and I often reuse them now as bags for my mums bits and bobs that need binned.

I’m old enough to remember the days when plastic packaging was non existent to very low.  My grandmother used to have a shop in the days before supermarkets kicked them all out of business, which sold all sorts from fruit and veg, to canned goods, juice, sweets in jars, cheese, meat and more.  All the packaging for people to take away was paper, and she had lots of different paper bags of different sizes and strengths.    She even had net bags made of string for potatoes.  We haven’t always had nets just for oranges, and they weren’t plastic.  Cereals were in big dispensers and dispensed into their own tubs by weight, or measured into a paper bag for people to decant into their containers at home.  The cheese was wrapped in grease proof types stuff, and in it went to a paper bag.  Sweets were weighed and measured into those crinkly bags, and if someone forgot their shopping bags, they were given a box to take their things home in.  There was almost zero waste, as boxes stock arrived in almost always ended up with customers.

We had our fizzy juice in glass bottles that were always given back for a couple of pence, and the same went for milk bottles.  No tetra packs, plastic, polystyrene or plastic in sight.  I lived this stuff.  I know how to live plastic free, yet in my home, we have plastic bottles of fizz, plastic bottles of milk, tetra packs of juice, microwaveable meals, and almost every bleeding thing seems to come in a plastic wrapper.  There’s absolutely no need in this life, ever, to use a plastic microwaveable meal tray, and yet we do use a bloody shed load of the stuff weekly.

I even eyed up my roll of cling film last week with an evil glare.  How much of that stuff does damage in a day around the world?  That’s not to mention the nappy sacks for mums pads, the pads themselves with plastic backing and the oodles of packs of wet wipes we use on a monthly basis, all going into the bin.  And that’s not to mention crisps and biscuits, just how much packaging do they take up?  I can’t even think about things like packs of tomatoes, apples, neeps, cucumbers, all wrapped so neatly in their plastic poison.  As much as possible, I try to avoid those now, but instead of paper bags to put them in, we’re offered yet another little plastic bag.

It’s all down to cost, and sadly, cost does indeed matter.  We can avoid some plastics, but I’m struggling to figure out how to get round lots of it with a disabled elder, and five others, as well as a pet to throw out rubbish for.  I’ve found biodegradable nappy sacks that don’t cost the earth, but there’s no bloody alternative for the plastic backed pads and adult nappies and their packaging that we go through so much of.  We go through so much that we even have to have an extra bin to fit it all in, and then we still have to take more to the tip ourselves as the bins get chocka.

I can’t persuade the kids at their age to avoid plastic fizz, and to be honest, I don’t want to.  I like my fizz of choice.  The soda stream alternatives are great, but too expensive and the gas isn’t the easiest to get swapped out for the canisters.  If they were available at my local shop, it would be a no brainer, but as that option isn’t available, we end up grabbing plastic bottles instead.  There seems to be no alternative to it until manufacturers make changes to how they supply, and they are always looking at the cheapest option which is single use plastic.

It’s disappointing that butchers, bakers, and fishmongers are addicted to the stuff too.  I bought burgers yesterday from a fresh meat outlet.  They were wrapped between plastic sheets, and stuffed into a plastic bag that was sealed with a plastic tape.

My grandmother would be turning in her grave.

I’ll keep cutting down where I can, as I think we all have a responsibility to try and help reduce the damage caused by our selfishness as a world population, but alas, I suspect that this is a battle we are going to lose sooner rather than later.  Our oceans seem to be broken.  Our beaches are being trashed.  We’re told our food sources are being poisoned.

As I said, every little helps.  The little I do won’t help much, but it makes me feel a tiny bit better, but also guilty that I don’t do more.  That’s a project I need to work on more.

I want to keep seeing this on beaches.  I just need to do more.



2 thoughts on “The Single Use Plastic Debate – Are We Killing Our Planet?

  1. You’re so right about how things used to be, I remember my mum’s wicker shopping basket now that came on every shopping trip. I just wrote 12 Ways to Reduce your Pladtic Footprint which might inspire you

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