Climate Change

The Right Way to use Plastic

Whatever you feel about Extinction Rebellion and their methods, it must be agreed that climate change has now grabbed everyone’s attention. The activists are now drawing huge attention world-wide to what was previously just a growing concern, that we must do something to try to counteract the effects of climate change.  The activists’ stated aim of using civil disobedience and the disruption caused has been quite divisive. They have managed to close roads, stop aeroplanes taking off and generally made it difficult for people to get where they want to go. One mother said she was so late to pick up her child from school that by the time she got there, he was in floods of tears.

However, she then said in years to come he will not remember that, but he will notice if the world around him is ecologically collapsing. Greta Thunberg’s angry outburst at world leaders at the United Nations when criticising their lack of action (“How dare you – you have stolen my dreams and my childhood”) was for some too extreme, but again brought home the strength of feeling that it is imperative that they listen and act.

One of the main concerns is plastic and how to dispose of it. Sir David Attenborough horrified us with pictures of the plastic pollution in our oceans. The proliferation of single-use plastic around the world is accelerating climate change and should be urgently halted, a report warns. Plastic contributes to greenhouse gas emissions at every stage of its lifecycle, from its production to its refining and the way it is managed as a waste product. Some countries and local authorities are being pro-active and coming up with some interesting ideas. For example, in Lockerbie a company is at the forefront of using plastic waste to resurface roads constructing roads from recycled plastic.

 And us..what can we do individually? Well firstly if we go down the fair trade route, we sell things that are handmade and respect the environment as it is 1 of the fundamental principles of fair trade. Just look at the array of things you can make with eco-friendly materials.

But one of the more practical measures we can all take everyday, which will make a big difference if billions of us do it. Carry a reusable coffee cup or flask is one idea. Around 2.5bn coffee cups are thrown away every year in the UK alone – that’s seven million a day! Less than 1% of these can be recycled as they contain plastic, meaning most spend up to 50 years in landfill, after lasting just minutes in your hand. Lots of coffee outlets offer a discount when you use your own cup and there are many eco-friendly options out there. At Voyage our aim is to adhere to the Fair Trade principles, one of which is ‘Respect for the Environment’ which stresses the importance of using recycled or easily biodegradable materials and we are pleased to offer eco-friendly cups made of rice husks. Rice husk coffee cups contain no plastics and are genuinely biodegradable. There is a great selection of colourful designs, you can get discounted coffee – and you are helping to save the planet! It’s a win-win situation!

 

Sam Birtwistle