Plastic Free Louth
November 26th 2018
There have been a raft of revelations lately about the effect of plastic in the environment, from its low rate of recycling to its role in climate change, not to mention images of sea life tangled in plastic or starving because they're eating plastic instead of fish.
Plastic Free LouthA group has formed on Facebook, Plastic Free Louth, which aims to share tips about how to use less plastic locally. Created in October 2018, it already has over 100 members.
Discussions include how to tackle Christmas wrapping paper, getting loo roll that isn't wrapped in plastic, and where to get coffee, chocolate, and other products. It is a useful resource for talking about local shops and suppliers that make it easier to cut down on plastic.
Low Carbon LouthIt seems like concern about plastic is relatively new, but some people have been talking about it for quite some time. Low Carbon Louth have been around as an incorporated charity since December 2016. In June they organised a plastic reduction event, which included a board for ideas about reducing plastic waste, and short films at the Art Room on Aswell Street. It was a successful event that highlighted both the need for change and the support amongst local people for living more sustainably.
The limits of individual actionPlastic is everywhere, and the closer you look into the issue the more of it turns up - in chewing gum and tea bags, for instance. It's a frustration for many people that it's very difficult to simply decide to go "plastic free", and it's not something anyone can achieve quickly. The main reason is that so much of our food is wrapped in plastic, and sourcing alternatives takes time, effort, and money. There are simply fewer plastic-free alternatives, and they can sometimes be more expensive.
One of the issues with reducing plastic is the focus there has been on the impact of individual actions, which are of course important. When groups of people get together to ask for the same thing and begin to change their behaviour it does make a difference.
However, part of the bigger picture is how the system works. Many companies have decided to make a lot of plastic in the first place, or to use that in packaging and other items that are designed to be temporary. And the general public pay for disposing of it through council tax, whilst manufacturers only contribute around 10% of the cost of packaging disposal and recycling. Reforming the way this is paid for to put the onus on producers to pay for packaging would certainly concentrate their minds on recycling and sustainability, and the only way to do that is through government.
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