What are we doing?

Whether you believe in climate change or are a sceptic, it seems there is no doubt that we are destroying our world. We are literally drowning it in plastic! Images appear on social media each day of dead whales with stomachs full of plastic waste and islands of floating plastic rubbish. We simply cannot go on thinking that the problem belongs to someone else, that because we don’t live near the coast or are particularly careful with disposal of rubbish that we are absolved from the problem.

Last summer we went to the coast of New South Wales for a break. The beaches were beautiful, and the weather was great but one thing we found was the amount of rubbish floating in the water was horrendous. Straws, soft drink bottles and snack food packets such as Tiny Teddies and Shapes popular with children. At some beaches it was unswimmable due to the filth in the water.

Returning home via Sydney I paid particular attention to the rubbish along the roadside and was horrified by the amount of single-use plastic lying by the road. The culprit in this case was soft drink bottles. Comparing this behaviour to pigs is really not fair to pigs!

Plastic in and of itself is not evil; in fact, it was a fabulous invention that allowed food to be stored more effectively and gave many other benefits. It is the one-use plastic that is the real problem and there are many things we can do about this. Straws are one example of one-use plastic. Surely if you are an adult you do not need to drink from a straw and if you do, purchase steel ones which can be used for longer than you may live. There are straight ones and bent ones, colourful or plain, thin ones and thicker ones for smoothies. Metal straws have become much cheaper than they were initially and are now available in a broad range of shops. Nothing beats an ice-cold smoothie consumed through a metal straw.

The other single use plastic which is so damaging to our environment is the mini packs of all sorts of savoury and sweet yummies that children love to have in their lunch boxes. Kids don’t need to miss out because you refuse to buy the multi packs of everything possible. Instead of buying the plastic packs filled with 12 or more other packs of plastic, purchase a regular size pack and divide them out into reusable containers readily available at supermarkets and variety shops. You have one reusable container and 1 piece of plastic rubbish instead of 13 pieces of rubbish. Recycle your one piece of rubbish and you have a happy child and a clearer conscience on the environmental front.

Soft drink bottles are also easy to reduce, simply don’t buy them! If you need or want a soft drink (and let’s face it sometimes you do) buy it in a can or in a glass bottle. Another alternative is to use a soda stream and make your own soft drink. You could even have a go at making your own cordial syrups (I made a Blood Orange and Cardamon one that was sublime) or use a squeeze of fresh citrus to add freshness. Or you could try fermenting your own Kombucha – but that’s another whole adventure in itself.