I watched a documentary that showed how birds were dying because of the amount of plastic waste that finds its way into the oceans. In some instances birds starved to death because their stomachs were too full of indigestible plastics for them to feed properly.

Plastic bags are a big part of the global waste problem. Charging small amounts at the supermarket till for plastic bags has been successful in reducing their usage.

Single use, disposable cups are a problematic waste product. Paper coffee cups with inseparable plastic linings cannot be recycled. In a competitive market the recyclable/machine washable cups are significantly dearer than the standard cups and can only be used 7 times.

Some enterprising coffee shop might trial offering free refillable travel mugs with an initial 10th coffee, rather than the usual free cuppa. The company branding on the mugs and the advertising of their green credentials might make the trial worthwhile.

Refilling containers used to be the done thing.  Refundable deposits on glass bottles was a great way to encourage the return of washable bottles. Today recycling is probably cheaper than washing and sterilising.

Most black plastic food packaging is not recyclable because of the optical sorting systems at recycling plants. WRAP is an organisation that is encouraging “retailers, brand owners and packaging manufacturers to use detectable black colourants to enable the environmental benefits of recycling black plastics to be fully realised”.

In 2013 the EU had lifted the average recycling rate to 39% across the community of member states. This compares to 1% for Turkey and Romania and zero for Bulgaria. In Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, virtually no municipal waste was sent to landfill sites.

Don’t get me started on Brexit!


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