An Open Letter to Producers, Consumers and Legislators
To whom it may concern,
Every seven weeks, the average person in the UK throws away his or her own body weight in rubbish. Estimates show that up to 80 percent of every dustbin-full of waste could have been recycled. However, recycling isn’t exactly a perfect process either. By the time a bottle is recycled, much of the damage has already been done to the environment, since energy is needed in order to produce and transport the bottle.
Don’t get me wrong, but in the UK, it is almost impossible to live day-to-day without damaging the environment. Our fast-paced society makes it easy for many of us to ignore the environmental impact of our actions, especially when trying to maintain a fairly normal, cost effective lifestyle.
In light of this, I would like to offer an idea. Recently I visited my local Holland & Barrett in York. As it’s relatively new, I went in to explore out of curiosity. I noticed that there were big vats of cooking oil on the wall, large containers with various nuts in them and big pots with all different kinds of olives inside.
Interestingly, each of these items had something in common. They did not have any packaging. Instead, people would come into the shop, fill up their own containers with the product and then take it to the till.
This got me thinking. Surely it’s possible for more shops to display their stock like this. Why not introduce this same technique for everyday food items; such as rice, pasta, flour or sugar?
Most people have jars and containers of some sort at home. Imagine if you only needed to buy packaging every five years, rather than every single week when you did your food shop. Introducing this simple measure into your everyday life could result in significant positive effects on the environment.
This might sound completely irrelevant to a lot of you, but eventually the planet isn’t going to be able to take much more of us dumping unnecessary amounts of waste in landfills. Many people’s lives are already being affected and it is only going to get worse.
By 2050 it is estimated that around 200 million people worldwide will be forced to leave their homes because of climate change. This is just one example of the devastating consequences of rising temperatures, food shortages and rising sea levels.
We have the power to change the system, so why not start now? It might seem impossible but when we look at it more closely, some of the most significant events in history started from the efforts of a single individual.