An ingenious way to cut back on plastic
I'm pretty certain it can't have escaped your notice that we're currently in the eye of a plastic crisis storm right now. Whilst I don't want to get too bogged down in the details, it's worth noting some of the headline facts.
Fact: More plastic was produced in the last decade than in the entire century before that.
Fact: Half of the 300 million tons of plastic produced each year is used only once
Fact: It takes anything from 500 to 1,000 years for plastic to degrade
Fact: 8 million metric tons of plastic ends up in our oceans. That's estimated to double by 2025
Fact: Scientists estimate that 1 million seabirds and 100,000 mammals are killed by consuming plastic every year
Fact: More than 40% of plastic is used to create packaging
Those are shocking statistics and it's beholden on every one of us to try and do something about our plastic consumption. This really is a case of every little helping. The charge on plastic bags is doing a fine job of persuading us to carry reusable bags with us for our shopping (in Kenya, where I was recently, plastic bags are banned entirely. Just saying...) And I've stopped buying plastic water bottles and instead carry one that I refill each time (I have a selection in various sizes depending on the size of my bag and the amount I think I'm going to need). It's really not hard to do, just a new habit to get used to.
Retailers need to play their part too. Iceland has led the way by promising to eliminate plastic packaging on all their own brand goods within five years. Hopefully others will follow suit. But if they need any ideas or inspiration, they'd do well to look at French supermarket chain Auchin's first organic supermarket, Coeur de Nature (Heart of Nature) which I was lucky enough to stumble across when I visited Paris earlier this year to celebrate a special birthday with a very unconventional Heydayer
What a place! It wasn't just the enticing displays in the store that caught my eye. It was the fact that huge quantities of the products were being sold in a way that encouraged customers to use, and reuse, their own packaging. So you could stock up on spices and seeds....
Or, even more impressively (but sadly rather less photogenically), you could use their recycled and reusable bottles to stock up on organic cooking oil
And even, brilliantly, organic washing liquid
How fantastic is that?
Come on UK supermarkets, if the French can do it, you definitely can!
If you've seen or tried any marvellous ways of saving on plastic use, I'd love to hear about them.