By George! Citizen Kate emerges halfway through this 14 day challenge alive but swamped in the petroleum-based breakthrough of the 19th century. I am literally surrounded by plastic, and feel somewhat abashed for it! 1.7 million tonnes of plastic wrapping is generated by UK households each year (so says WRAP), including around 900,000 tonnes of the light plastic ‘film’ from which my skirt is made – and we’re NOT good at recycling it. Excluding bottles, we only recycle 13-15% of our plastics.
In fairness, as a number of people have commented, I’m perhaps not wearing as much as some might be after 7 days. This Challenge has definitely made me think twice each time I go to purchase or use something – the immediate prospect of ‘will I have to pin it to myself?’ proves a strong incentive to analyse items based on their clothing. Filling my knapsack in advance of travelling also meant I avoided the worst of my previous bin hooliganism. A big shout out to Waltham Forest Council and Westminster City Council, both of whom have recycling bins on the street to avoid pedestrian landfill. If you think your council should invest in some, why not contact the recycling department? At £190 per tonne of plastic bottles, there’s some serious money to be made from this stuff.
But! I attempt to buy only naked fruit in the supermarket…. and once I’d factored in food mileage, avoiding anything grown outside Europe, the only fruits I could find shamelessly flaunting their birthday suits were some lonesome pears and kiwis. You could buy naked bananas – but only the undesirable streaker sort that weren’t fairly traded. I get the feeling the local market is where the fruit and veg burlesque show takes place….
Age 8, Citizen Kate wrote to Woolworths as part of a school project asking about the overpackaging of their shirts. Despite my best handwriting, I dont think they took me very seriously. Whilst I as one consumer can decide to boycott and shop elsewhere (which obviously, you could do for many reasons with the big supermarkets!), could we collectively rid the nation’s shelves of the cabbage coats and cucumber condoms, and save ourselves having to recycle this sea of fossil-fuel garbage? I check the Tesco website, and find a postal address. Here goes Consumer Action # 2.
Here in the UK, we are however heading in the right direction with our rubbish. Good job one and all. Our annual garbage load was 465 kg per person in 2010, down from a peak of 603 kg per person per year in 2004.
However, we are ranked 9th in Europe for our per capita waste loading. Finland was at the top in 2010, with just 313 kg per person per year. So there’s still more we can do
LINKS OF THE DAY
There’s many other folks thinking about this stuff too, with all sorts of green lifestyle hints and tips. Check these sites out: