Action - Stuff
We get through a lot of stuff - in some cases far more than we need, not least becuase we've been trained to do so by a very artful global marketing industry!
But a lot of that stuff doesn't actually make us any happier. And it creates enormous amounts of waste, which generally gets shipped off to poorer countries, then burnt or buried, and in the process often makes other people less happy.
Clearly we need stuff, but we live on a finite planet, so we can't go making stuff and throwing it away indefintiely. So it makes sense to extend the life of things in order to reduce their impact, and once they are no longer servicable, they should be made into new stuff to avoid having to mine the earth for yet more resources.
It's not hard to imagine a truly circular system (many such processes already exist, or used to exist but have been lost - and nature is a mistress of it). The sooner we can get back to that way of thinking, the better.
Repair, Reuse, Recycle
There are repair cafes in Nottingham, loads of second hand shops, there's the incredible Hackspace, and there sites like Gumtree and Freecycle. However much you might not want something, there's a very good chance that someone else will - and it only takes few minutes to post on Freecycle, for example.
Learning to mend things - or teaching others to do so - is very therapeutic, and is a great confidence builder...and of course can save you money!
How did we get to the point where everything comes wrapped in three layers of single use plastic?! It might be something to do with the oil industry's determination to sell their products, but however we got here, it's out of control. The volume of single use plastic is unimaginable, microplastics have made it to every continent, to the top of Mount Everest and to the bottom of the Mariana Trench - and still we're building new plastics factories. Plastic and its associated toxins are now entering the food chain, and only about 13% actually gets recycled globally.
Taking your own bags to the shops is easy once you have a system in place - just make sure that your regular bag(s) also contain other bags for loose fruit, veg and baked goods, and try to avoid supermarkets where everything is pre-packaged.
And go to zero waste shops - we've a few in Nottingham and there are some good online ones as well.
Supermarkets do now have bins for soft plastics, so what can't go in the home recycling can at least be taken there for recycling (sadly at least some of our recycling in Nottingham gets burnt in the incinerator - essentially plastic is a fossil fuel as it's made from oil).
But really we've just got to get excess packaging out of the shops - so we need to lobby politicians and pester companies.
Support local busineses buy frequenting them instead of large companies - who are often owned by entities that don't pay their taxes in this country, and may well have questionable ethical and environmental practices.
Money spent locally tends to circulate within the local economy, and you can always ask the shopkeeper about their products, where they come from and gently ask them if they are doing their bit for planetary health.
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