Finally the world seems to be waking up to the damage and nastiness which plastics have on our amazing planet; in particular the worlds oceans.
Almost daily now, there is another breaking story or new research discovery which relates to the subject of our plastic use globally. Most recently, it has been cited that the UK is leading the world in plastic use - with the possible banning of plastic cotton buds and drinking straws. It's certainly a step in the right direction in my opinion. Our local pub in Greenwich, the Coach and Horses have stopped offering straws with drinks which is just great :o)
My worry is, with the 'carrier bag charge' and proceeds in most cases going to charity, is this type of action really what we need? The oceans are filling up with plastic; so surely a wide spread ban and some realistic alternatives need to be adopted? The use of recycled paper bags seems the most obvious step as a stop gap for those that arent using natural cotton bags (for life). It's popular in the USA, but doesnt seem to be catching on here.
I understand that plastic bags are soooo much cheaper than their paper counterparts, however, as a retailer, I think it is so important that we help the environment and use paper bags (only when necessary) to help reduce plastic waste. Even if this means it costing our business a little bit more (we are talking pennies, not pounds).
At Tailor&Forge we always ask customers if they require a bag and encourage customers to put items (where possible) in their rucksacks, or another bag they already have with them. Im delighted to say that many of our customers have cotton tote bags which they bring with them. If customers do require a bag however, we provide them with a suitable recycled and recyclable paper bag.
We as a small business are doing it, so why are real changes not being imposed on larger retailers? They surely can spare the extra little bit of cash to change from plastic to paper; if this is what it is about? Or is it convenience and long standing bad habits? Perhaps both.
We all must take and share the responsibility in our plastic use - without sounding like im preaching, and consciously choose what we do and do not buy with plastics. We are currently in talks with our suppliers to encourage and persuade them to use as little as possible plastic based products when sending us stock - there are other ways to do it for sure.
With incremental changes to our daily routines and behaviors we can all make a positive impact on our environment; but time is certainly not on our side.
How do you think we can all do more? What should government be doing in the wider social sense? How do you help? The debate is well and truly on, so let's discuss and together make a fantastic change for us all....