You can change the world, one plastic bag at a time

Did you know that YOU can change the world? Yes you. We all have our part to play, and if we all do our thing, that adds up to a lot, and makes a real difference.

Report predicts that, on the current track, oceans will contain more plastic than fish by 2050 (by weight)

World Economic Forum – More plastic than fish

seal with plastic bag around neckI’ve been concerned about plastic bags for a long time. As a family, we tried to take reusable bags with us before supermarkets had to start charging for them. I always get upset when supermarket till assistants put fruit and veg in a plastic bag at the till, when I’ve chosen not to use one when I’ve picked one pepper up from the store. [Note, we do try and buy from our local market, but we haven’t been that organised recently, but that’s our ideal. Just trying to give you a picture though of my ideals].

On average, we use plastic bags for 12 minutes before getting rid of them, yet they can take fully 500 years to break down in the environment.

Bioplastics and biodegradable plastics

On our recent family holiday to France, I was delighted to see that all the supermarkets we visited used corn starch bags at the fruit and vegetable counters. It seemed to give me a real statement of intent. The French supermarkets haven’t given out plastic shopping bags for years, (it’s a favourite holiday destination for our family), but this was saying to me, “we’re serious about the environment”.

In England, (who were behind Wales and Scotland in introducing the ban on free plastic bags), at first there was concern that the change wouldn’t work. However, I see a lot less people buying 5p or 10p bags now when I visit the supermarkets. Some supermarkets, e.g. Co-operative, use biodegradable plastic for some of their bags.

Wouldn’t it be good if instead of plastic bags to put fruit and veg in, we were able to use paper or corn starch bags instead? To me, it sends a message out, that we’re serious about the enviroment, and doing what we can to improve our world. I can hear my Mum shouting from the heavens now, “No! I want to see my fruit and veg clearly!” Why Mum? Grandma used to collect everything from the market in her shopper, and nothing was separated until she got home. Why on earth do we need everything in clear plastic bags? Urrggghh!

Now, I’m not saying that “How we used to live”, (anyone else remember that programme from Primary school?), was perfect. However, my Grandparents, who were adults and having children during the second world war, knew how to reuse, recycle and mend things. They never threw anything away – my Grandad’s garage was testimont to that! They grew their own vegetables, when they had the space, and they shared in their communities.

Whilst we don’t know what we don’t know with new technology, (and plastic is still relatively new to our world), I think we can all make a difference by consuming less plastic in our lives. I haven’t even mentioned plastic bottles and take away cups, but hey, that’s for another day maybe. You can make a difference every day with the choices you make about the plastic you use and discard.

I’ve signed the Greenpeace Ocean petition , which adds my voice to their campaign. I’m also going to be writing to the supermarkets in my area, and my MP to ask for more work in support of using less plastic. It may not be much, but I can do this. I can make a difference by using less, and talking to others, and asking the question.

What difference will you make to the world this week, month and year?

2 Comments

  1. Absolutely agree. There is way too much plastic wrapped around supermarket fruit and veg in the UK. I’m from Germany and I was shocked when I first saw how things are often wrapped twice here! At least there are no free plastic bags at the check out anymore… small progress…

  2. Thanks Christine. What can the UK learn from Germany in terms of packaging & use of plastics?

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