OK, I’m going to start by admitting I’m a natural born worrier. But now my day-to-day anxieties are beginning to filter into my dreams!
Last night I dreamt I was standing in the middle of a supermarket, instructing shoppers to wrap their freshly-bought food in paper rather than plastic. By the end of the dream I was feeling vaguely panicked as mounds and mounds of plastic heaped up, covering every supermarket surface in sight.
It all started after I heard about the amount of plastic being produced in the UK, most of which is either non-biodegradable or is very slow to break down. We may think our waste is disappearing, but particles are remaining to pollute our oceans and aquatic life. The worrying thing is that plastics have only been around for a few decades, so we don’t have huge amounts of research on their long-term environmental impact.
This has lead to me starting to try and complete my weekly food shop without putting plastics in the trolley, which I soon discovered was impossible! Some items I will accept defeat on, but it’s amazing how many items are needlessly covered in plastic – such as fruit and veg – only for consumers to take them home, immediately unwrap them and put the plastic straight in the bin!
Apparently the UK uses over 5 million tonnes of plastic each year, of which an estimated 24% is currently being recovered or recycled. That’s a lot of plastic ending up in landfill. And a lot of shoppers buying plastic-covered food every day throughout the UK.
If every consumer started making some small steps, such as using reusable drinks containers or buying fruit and veg from local markets where the produce has less packaging, then we may be able to make a real difference. Then I can sleep better at night too!