Plastic People

We eat plastic, we wash in plastic, we surround our lives with plastic. We just can’t get enough of the synthetic malleable polymer.

It amazes me how we’ve so readily accepted plastic. How those old enough to remember the days without it have embraced it fully into everyday life. And yet we all know the reasons why it’s bad: it ends up gathering around street corners like hostile teenagers; finds its way into every nook and cranny of our waterways and seas; and it indiscriminately murders our wildlife whenever it can, whichever way it can. As well as this, it requires oil by the barrel to produce, costs us taxpayers to clean up, and it loves recruiting toxins.

All this for twenty minutes’ use of a shopping bag or bottle that’ll still be hanging around for your children’s great-grandkids to find. And it’ll probably still be here when we’re all gone.

So why do we choose to have so much plastic in our lives? Yes, it’s an easy, convenient solution to most storage problems in today’s world of international trade and food supply. But when it comes to plastic, Joan Rivers made her choice – and we can make ours. Simple everyday stuff like taking a shopping bag to a shop that doesn’t sell fruit and veg in a plastic tub, covered in plastic wrapping and tied with a plastic bow makes all the difference. Forget the supermarkets; local fruit and veg shops, farm shops and delis sell fresh food that is loose and plastic free (as if it’s come out of the ground or off a tree or something). Not only are you reducing the use of finite resources, reducing waste and saving wildlife from an alternative fate, you’re keeping your local businesses going and slowing the retreat of our town and cities into faceless, mono-metropolises of capitalism. That’s one smug shopping trip.

It takes a bit of effort and a bit of thought, something we struggle to do these days as the easy options are all around us, but I don’t think it’s that hard. There is an alternative plastic-reduced life out there for all of us. I might of course be completely wrong but let’s see. As part of the Marine Conservation Charity’s Plastic Challenge I will be attempting to spend the whole of October living single-use plastic free. No plastic packaging, bottles, bags or even those little, tiny, pointless plastics in my shampoo. What will I do without them? Follow my posts on Twitter to find out: @DrawntoWildlife.

Firstly, anyone know where I can buy some loo roll that isn’t packaged in plastic..?

Take a look for more information on the challenge, how to run single-use plastic events, and to sign up for next year’s Plastic Challenge: www.mcsuk.org/plasticchallenge

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