'How I'm finding my way in the #LowImpactMovement'
10th October 2018
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Plastic. Arguably one of the biggest buzzwords of the season, and for good reason. Us Brits bin around 22 million tonnes of waste every year, and as a global society more than eight million tonnes of plastic is dumped into our oceans annually - with devastating impacts on both the environment and the people and wildlife we share it with. The solution has to operate on all levels. On an international scale, the United Nations has launched a ‘global plastic platform’ to fight plastic wastes worldwide and, when the UK government plan to slowly phase out single use plastics by 2042 was criticised for being too little too late, Britain’s supermarkets took it into their own hands to pledge to almost half that timeframe in a “UK Plastics Pact” earlier this year. The Co-op has taken this issue even further, sustainability being at the core of their ethos, by implementing a number of changes across their product range (even rolling out biodegradable carrier bags) and actively encouraging a more positive approach to the problem. Iain Ferguson, Co-op environment manager, says: “What is needed is a coordinated response to the problem. This should start with retailers and major brands listening to recyclers and developing packaging that is better for recycling.” But all change starts with us, the individual and the consumer - and I’ve tried to take that to heart. Early last year, I was merrily time-wasting on Youtube, avoiding a looming deadline (as all good students should), when I found myself watching a video which claimed to be “the best speech you’ll ever hear”. Anything seemed more attractive than my essay so, even when it became apparent that this speech was nothing more than a direct and undeniable assault on the ethics of my own lifestyle (I make no comment on whether it was actually “the best speech ever”), I failed to click away. This left me with two choices: become a vegan or become a hypocrite. And so it was that I joined the ranks of “insufferable, annoying vegans” trying to destroy slightly less of the planet than I was currently doing. The first part was actually fairly easy. I could just pop down to the Co-op round the corner and grab a pack of stir fry veg and some Alpro ice-cream and have a suitably student-esque meal with a bit less of the death and destruction. But every now and then I would catch myself groaning at the prospect of having to drag multiple black bags out to the curb on bin day, and it made me question how much waste I was actually producing - and more importantly, how much of that could be avoided.
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