Christmas time, what joy and what a wonderful time to be with the family. Smiles all around, good food and drink and a great amount of well wishes and presents too. The children excited about new toys and games, all wrapped up and what fun to see what’s inside all those wonderful boxes and bags. Ah yes, those many boxes, bags and, of course, plastic that come along with this time of year. What took a matter of minutes to unwrap and discard, took me quite some time to crush, fold and dispose of, again, in yet more plastic and bags.
One of the toys that we bought for our four-year-old was ordered online. It came in a bag and a plastic box, and inside was more plastic separating different, minuscule play-things that again were made of plastic. By my estimate, in the seven days between Christmas and New Year, we produced more than 10 full sized bags of trash, mainly plastic. Some of it, nicely separated, into what I can only hope will be recycled somewhere, but most of it will surely end up in a landfill or, worse, the sea. When you multiply that across the many millions of families all over the UK, Europe and the world, it becomes a flabbergasting amount of waste that may take millions of years to decompose.
Whether we bury, stack or otherwise try to break it down, plastic is eating up ever increasing resources that we simply cannot gain back. There are news reports of mountains of plastic drifting in our oceans, allegedly the size of entire countries. Evidence also suggests that plastic is now part of our food chain. You are what you eat has never rang so unappealing.
Clearly, we need to use less plastic and it starts with us. Think about that daily coffee cup and whether we could use a reusable cup instead. Or the small bottles of water we send to our homes, rather than using filtered (if need be) water from the tap. Or that bag to carry small items you could easily store in your pocket. It’s the little things that will matter and only when we change our behaviour will the industry follow. The world can find better materials or distribution ideas than wrapping everything in ever increasing amounts of disposable plastic.
Please, let this be the one new year’s resolution we can all agree on and if we all use less plastic every day, we can make the world a better place in 2018!
For more of our thoughts and information on this subject matter, please see our other post Impact Investing - Part 1.