We’ve all seen trees and barbed wire fences littered with snagged plastic bags, blocks of polystyrene and wax-coated drink cartons loitering in rivers and the bottoms of hedge rows and road sides. So who’s to blame, businesses or we the consumer?
Some might find it surprising that I lay the blame squarely at the door of businesses. Some might not. Either way, there the blame goes.
The blame game — why businesses need to do more
As consumers, we’re the ones who bear the brunt of the pressure to recycle, yet a lot of the waste we have to recycle is totally unnecessary:
“As consumers, we .. well, consume stuff. We buy stuff that comes in packaging that we can’t ordinarily refuse to accept, and in most cases would be foolish to do so. Yet once we unwrap all of the stuff we’ve bought, we’ve got a huge heap of stuff to get rid of.”
This is where businesses need to think clearly about how they package their products for us to buy, as well as what materials they use.
There are alternatives to the ones being used for packaging, such as edible coatings for foods, or stronger paper-based bags to replace plastic shopping bags.
Over here in Britain, our local authorities are becoming more and more strict about what materials are recycled; when and how they need to be handled.
A lot of the time, the waste materials that the average household has to deal with is unreasonable; shrink-wrapped fruits and needlessly bulky double packaging of other food items are just two examples of the crap we walk out of our local supermarkets with.
Ultimately, we must all work together, but the balance must be fair.
When I say our world, I’m thinking beyond borders, politics, race and even our own species. I include every living thing in this equation.
I look around and I see a growing sense of awareness, not just here in England, but all over the world. It’s heartening to see that we’re all taking ownership for the problems we all face. Now it’s the turn of businesses to stand up and be accountable for their wasteful ways.
Some say the clock is at two minutes to midnight. That might well be the case. So we must decide what happens tomorrow…