Plastic was named children’s word of the year for 2018, which came as no surprise considering the increase in awareness and action being taken against plastic pollution across the globe. But how has this awareness impacted perception and lifestyle habits? STYLEetc discusses.
Research founded by Mintel shows plastic is the environmental issue top of British people’s list, with animal welfare and climate change following.
Britain’s War on Plastic
All eyes have been on the measures we can take as a nation to reduce plastic over the past few years, notably with the implementation of a 5p charge for plastic bags in 2015, which has recently reported an 86% drop in use.
The win for reduction of bag use shows that small changes can make a considerable difference. BBC veteran David Attenborough has publicly spread awareness through show Blue Planet II as well as making public appearances to discuss the impact plastics have on wildlife and the Earth long term. It makes for harrowing viewing as the images of the change in environment and it’s detriment to life really makes you think about your own actions.
This year focus has shifted from bags to straws, with large corporations including Starbucks promising to end plastic straw use in it’s cafes by 2020. It is only a matter of time before other brands follow suit, McDonald’s stores have already begun withholding straws, meaning you have to ask if you want one, in a bid to make customers more conscious of waste and considerate to reducing use.
There is debate from a portion of the public that banning straws altogether could be a disadvantage for the disabled, making it awkward for those who cannot eat or drink without a straw to join in dining out. This is one particular consideration that must be addressed on an international scale if bans are to be put into place, but not something which is unreachable.
Here’s to hoping that more can be done to reduce plastic overall, not just in the UK, and finding solutions to improve environmental efforts to try to save our planet.
What you can do to reduce plastic?
- Reuse plastic bags: take bags for life to the supermarket which can be reused
- Decline straws: where possible try to avoid taking straws, you can now buy re-usable ones if suited to your needs
- Take refill drinks bottles to events: many festivals now have incentives to reuse drinking cups and water bottles to prevent plastic waste
- Avoid excess packaging: try to minimally package food when taking out and about and opt for lesser packaged choices in the supermarket
- Don’t choose microbead products