According to the Litter Strategy published in April 2017, over £750m has been spent cleaning up street litter in the UK in just a single year. To put that number into perspective here are some of the budget plans for 2017;
- £100m to place more GPs in accident and emergency departments for next winter
- New funding totalling £20m to support the campaign against violence against women and girls
- £540m to support the growth of electric cars, including more charging points
- £40m teacher training fund for underperforming schools in England. Worth £1,000 per teacher
Just at a glance, it’s not surprising that 81% of people are angry and frustrated by the amount of litter lying all over the country. When you look at the budget plans for this year, an extra £750m would make a significant difference to services we can all relate to and much rely on such as education, health and green energy.
Reducing litter pollution is something that can benefit the whole country no matter where you are, what you do for a living or the views you may have. Saying that, creating a clean environment shouldn’t be an endless battle, expensive or even stop us doing the things we enjoy.
Instead, it should be fun, save money and make a real difference that inspires every generation including the next so here are three simple solutions that will help for a cleaner environment;
Make the change from single use plastic bags to bags for life.
The average family takes home around 1500 single use plastic bags each year. When you consider those family shops to the supermarket, gifts you buy for your friends and those snacks you buy when you go to the petrol station, it’s not surprising that 1500 soon adds up over the year; when you consider the fact that single use plastic bags are only used for an average of 12 minutes, we need to ask… Is it worth the damage it’s having on the environment?
Fact: The amount of petroleum used to make one plastic bag would reportedly power a car 115 metres. 14 plastic bags = 1 mile.
How does a bag for life help you?
- Using a bag for life could save you over £70 a year and that soon adds up if you are taking home over 1500 single use plastic bags every year.
- It looks better; Have a look around and pick a bag that represents you. Something that you value and makes you smile. Also, bags for life are not huge meaning you will probably only fit in the necessities rather than impulse spending and that can surely only be a good thing can’t it?
How does a bag for life benefit the environment?
- 100,000 marine animals alone are killed by plastic bags annually; it seems unnecessary considering we only use them for an average of 12 minutes.
- Only 1 percent of plastic bags are recycled meaning the rest end up in landfill or in the environment. Plastic bags can never be fully broken down meaning the toxins and microplastics could end up in our drinking water; by making the change, it’s going to produce cleaner drinking water which can only be a good thing.
Where to buy?
After a quick search on google, here are a few sites where you can pick up bags for life with many different designs;
https://ethical.market/women/ethical-bags-purses/ethical-tote-bags.html?dir=asc&order=price – (Range of ethical bags £5.50 being the lowest price)
https://thecleverbaggers.co.uk/cotton-carrier-bags-with-short-handles-6-pack (£5.76 for a set of 6 multi-coloured cotton shopping bags)
2) Get children involved.
If you have children and they are in school, then chances are that they will already be aware of litter pollution from teachers talking about this and getting them involved with helping to keep the playground clean. As adults, it’s probably become part of the daily routine for us to see litter in the street, canals, rivers and every other place it really shouldn’t be. The only way that we can reduce litter is by getting everybody involved and that includes children so the next time you are at a place with your child or children and litter stands out, see what your children think of the issue;
“What do you think of all that rubbish over there?”
“What does all that rubbish over there do?”
“Is that rubbish harming anybody?”
These are just a few questions you could ask to get them thinking but when young people talk about these issues, that’s when we can make a massive difference because it’s then when more people pay attention.
3) Dispose of cigarette ends.
So simple but again, it makes a massive difference. Something so small is having huge impact on the environment right now. Dropping one may seem insignificant but when you combine that with the amount consumed over a year… it equates to over 200 tons of cigarette butts in the UK being littered every year. Don’t worry though… it’s not just the UK guilty of this. In fact, globally, approximately 4.3 trillion cigarette butts are littered every year. Nobody wants to be the reason why a leatherback turtle chokes on one of these so just take an extra 30 seconds to dispose of the butt properly. Plus it avoids any £75 on the spot fines for throwing them on the floor (think how many cigarettes you could smoke with £75!).
Fact: 80% of butts on the ground find their way into our water systems and detract from the quality of our drinking water.
On a brighter note… Christmas is coming! This is another time for you to be creative in the gifts that you buy for loved ones. I am creating handmade drink coasters which have been made partly or entirely from waste materials to promote for a clean, healthy & sustainable environment along with waste cardboard for the packaging of the products. If you haven’t bought somebody a Christmas gift yet, click the link below to find some small gifts and get them in time for Christmas with free postage to anywhere in Europe.