Isn’t that scenery up there just stunning? When I see pictures of beaches like that I just want to be there. Wallowing around enjoying the amazing water and soft white sand. Unfortunately one day, (probably in the not too distant future), all we will have is old pictures from the past of the paradise locations we once had.
Because let’s be honest here, we are slowly covering this beautiful planet with trash we can’t get rid of. And I know you don’t want to read another depressing story about the environment and how we need to reduce, reuse, recycle. I’m sure you’d much rather be looking at beautiful Instagram pictures right now and besides we all know what we have to do don’t we? We’ve been taught this stuff in schools for years haven’t we? We know our governments need to do better. But guess what, they’re not going to do anything until it is too late, until their hands are forced. Because a lot of what needs to be done is unpopular. Let’s face it, us humans are lazy. And industry wants to offer us cheap solutions so they get our dollars, whatever the cost.
These days our world is looking increasingly like this…
So it is up to us, as individuals, to help solve this problem. My son said the other day, ‘Why bother when everyone else out there isn’t changing their ways, what is the point of only one of us doing it?’ I said, ‘No’ – you can’t think like that, we need to each do our part. We know there is a problem and most of us do a little bit of recycling and leave it at that. At least that was how I operated. But, in the last few months, I have increasingly been examining the amount of waste I produce. And to be honest it was horrifying. I started analysing my rubbish around the time that I saw a documentary about how the things we put out for recycling are not actually being recycled. That was a bit of a shock for me, I thought all the stuff I was bringing into the house wasn’t so bad, because most of it was going back out in the recycle bin. Then to learn that really a lot of it is just going to landfill was really upsetting.
Since then I’ve been thinking more and more about everything I buy, in particular about plastic waste. Because it just doesn’t go away. It can only be recycled a limited amount of times, and then it is off to the tip. Where it will take years to break down. A plastic bottle one of the most notoriously common forms of rubbish these days takes 450 years to break down. Billions of plastic bottles are made each year. Billions. And they’re just piling up all over this planet. But because most of us aren’t actually seeing it each day, we’re not thinking of that when we’re thirsty and we pop into the shop for a refreshing bottle of whatever-takes-your-fancy at the time.
When you start to focus on preventing unnecessary waste, you really start to see how infiltrated with stuff our lives have become. For instance, when I go grocery shopping, I suddenly realise, I can’t actually buy strawberries. You can’t get them without them being in a plastic container. All the meat I was buying was prepackaged in plastic trays. When I think about the packaging in a packet of rice crackers the guilt sets in big time. There is the plastic wrapper around them keeping them sealed and then an individual plastic tray inside to stop them from crushing. All so I can enjoy my 40 teeny rice cracker wafers, which I’m no longer enjoying once I think of all that packaging that is going to take years to erode. When I open my eyes and start to notice and think about every purchase that goes into my shopping trolley, I am actually shocked. I think we need to all open our eyes and start to notice. Because it isn’t enough to recycle anymore. We have to reduce our waste, as much as we possibly can.
If you google pollution, and trash disposal, and polluted oceans, there is no end to the horrors you find that are happening now, somewhere out there. Generally for most of us, me included, we only think about these issues from time to time. A nagging problem that occasionally floats through the back of our mind. I’m not doing my 100% best. Not yet. I still am buying food here and there in packaging. But I am slowly changing my habits. I am trying to become aware of everything I purchase that I could do without or make a better choice. I’m hoping by this time next year I am doing my 100% best. I’ll never be waste free, that would be almost impossible these days, but I’m trying my best to reduce it.
Here are some things I’ve been doing in an effort to reduce my own waste,
- Taking tupperware containers to the butcher/deli and getting them to put meat straight into the containers.
- Picking fruit and veg that are not wrapped in plastic.
- Limiting prepackaged/processed foods.
- Buying wooden/bamboo toothbrushes online.
- Shopping at bulk buy places like ‘The Source’
- Just not buying the thing at all.
So please everyone, I urge us all to start actively thinking about what we purchase. We need to do better and get as close to zero waste as we can. Perhaps start this Christmas, a time when we are all madly out their purchasing stuff and bringing it into our homes. Or if that is just too hard in the pre season madness, aim to start thinking on it in the new year. Make it a priority to become mindful of the issue. We have to all do our part, because we are all going to suffer eventually, whether we can see the problem from our back yard or not.
Here are some useful links that will help you get started, or motivate you (whichever you need)