In the last couple of years, you may have picked up on a changing dialogue regarding plastic. It was once something we relied on, something everybody used without a care in the world. But now, we need to spend more time taking our cares and applying them to the world – plastic has become a dirty word, we should be proud of that.
Only as recently as one year ago, people would flippantly use single use plastics with no consideration of the consequences.
In fact, in most cases, they wouldn’t even realise there were any consequences. Now, buying a single use plastic water bottle is demonised, using a plastic bag in a shop without bringing your own is shamed, and using plastic straws is completely out of the question. You may think these are pretty extreme steps, but trust me, they’re required.
When something has been part of someone’s routine for years, how do we change it? Challenge them! It’s how we learn right from wrong as children. So, if you see someone mindlessly using single-use plastics, ask them if they know the harm it causes. If someone buys a bottle of water everyday at school, suggest they buy a reusable one.
What has changed since the government required shops to charge for plastic bags in 2015? It was reported by the government the number of plastic bags supplied by the seven biggest supermarkets has gone down by 86% from 2014 to 2018. That’s really good, granted, but that’s still 1.75 billion bags being sold. Yes, that’s 1,750,000,000 bags. We may be doing well, but not as well as you’d think.
Whilst we young people may have noticed a shift in rhetoric towards plastic, with lots of talk about sustainability and living for the future, you’ve probably noticed that the older generations may not be as understanding. What can you do about that? Speak to your family! Tell them how important it is to reduce plastic usage; about how necessary it is to change our behaviour. Set a precedent in the family and never leave the house without a reusable bottle, and always use reusable bags at the supermarket.
Plastic is becoming a dirty word, and that’s the right step.