The world is waking up to the impact of plastics on the environment and both the Government and businesses in the UK seem to be taking it seriously.
In recent weeks, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said that he was haunted by the amount of plastic entering our oceans and the impact that has on the marine environment and biodiversity after watching the recent ‘Blue Planet’ BBC documentary.
The Conservatives have since set out their 25-year environmental plan which includes ditching all ‘avoidable’ plastic waste by 2042. It’s not completely clear what the Conservatives have defined as ‘avoidable’, and this transition away from plastics arguably needs to happen a lot sooner than 2042…
But whilst the UK Government are taking there time on tackling the problem of plastics, many businesses operating in the UK are taking the lead on reducing plastics.
Wagamamas announced yesterday that they were stopping the distribution of plastic straws in their restaurants, starting from Earth Day on April 22nd. From this date onwards only biodegradable paper straws will be available.
This follows the news earlier in the week that supermarket ‘Iceland’ planned to ditch plastic from all of their own brand products by 2023. Plastic is commonly used as packaging for food products, often needlessly, and it is incredibly unsustainable.
A number of coffee shops have also made attempts to reduce the number of disposable coffee cups used in their stores. It is thought that over 2.5 billion disposable cups are thrown away every year, making up a large share of UK waste. It’s a number that can easily be reduced though.
Costa is offering a 25p discount on teas and coffees when people use a reusable cup. They are also encouraging people to reuse disposable coffee cups, regardless of where they were originally bought from. Pret A Manger has gone a little further and increased their discount to 50p when their teas and coffees are served in a reusable cup. You can buy a reusable cup for just a few pounds from a number of retailers, and whilst the discounts are small, they will pay off the cost of the reusable cup in just a few drinks.
It’s not just the Government and businesses that must reduce the amount of plastic. There is plenty more that each of us can do individually! For those of you who read my blog posts or follow me on social media, you’ve probably seen the graphic below a few times now, but it outlines a number of really simple and easy ways that we can all reduce the amount of plastic we use. Even just switching to using reusable carrier bags would make a big reduction!