Friday, 13 July 2018

Plastic Packaging... and Why I'm Writing About This Here

By Rosemary Johnson

Don’t you get fed up with the amount of plastic packaging that comes your way every day?  To the right is what my husband and myself threw away after just one lunch at home.  (Okay, we didn’t eat all the olive and sundried tomatoes ourselves and that lunchtime.  We had had guests and consumed them over several days - honestly!)  But the point is why so much food sold in plastic and sellophane packaging?

Companies which deliver organic fruit and vegetables, such as Riverford Organic Farmers, manage to pack their goods in one cardboard box, without damaging any of the produce - and the delivery driver picks up the box when he calls again next week and reuses it.  The same thing happens with milk deliveries, and those of us who are old enough will remember glass bottles of pop for which you received 3d on returning the bottle to the shop. 

The Guardian reported, in April of this year, that the major supermarkets in the UK, have signed up to The UK Plastics Pact2, pledging, that by 2025:
  • 100% plastic packaging will be reusable, recyclable or compostable
  • 70% plastic packaging will be effectively recycled or composted
  • All single use plastic packaging will be eliminated
  • 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging.

2025 is a long time to wait.  What can we do in the meantime?
  • Whenever we can, buy fruit and vegetables loose (not always possible, even in street markets).
  • Avoid plastic milk cartons by having our milk delivered (if there are milk deliveries in the area).
  • Eat fewer ready-meals in packets and cartons.  Cook yourself!
  • When ordering takeaway, consider eating in the restaurant – fewer aluminium cartons, polystyrene burger boxes and other plastic containers.
  • Buy a longlife Starbucks/Costa beaker and use it.  (And get a few pence off coffee.)
  • Reuse cartons and bags.  Those supermarket carriers which we pay 5p for make excellent pedal-bin liners.  I use rectangular trays from Chinese takeaways for storing leftovers in the fridge.

Why am I writing all this on the More Than Writers blog?  Because I am the ACW Competitions Manager and I am therefore not allowed to enter ACW Journalism Competition.  This competition is your chance to write about whatever it is that gets your goat and, if you attain first place, see your article published in Christian Writer magazine.  Big organisations do not listen very well to individuals who write letters of complaint but they do heed press articles.  The UK Plastics Pact was in part a response to a swell of opinion evident in the press. 
First-placed entry also wins a £25 book token and second-placed entry wins a £10 book token.  More information on the ACW website

I didn’t used to be an environmentalist but…we are the stewards of the earth.  In Genesis 1: 28, God told Adam that he was putting him in charge of the fish, the birds and wild animals, to maintain their environments so they could live in them, not ruin them with plastic packaging.  A Christian slant is not a requirement for this competition, by the way, but I'm giving one you in this instance.

2 - online - accessed 12 July 2018.

Rosemary Johnson has had many short stories published, in print and online, amongst other places, The Copperfield Review, Circa and Every Day Fiction.  In real life, she is a part-time IT tutor, living in Suffolk with her husband and cat.  Her cat supports her writing by sitting on her keyboard and deleting large portions of text.


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  2. A good way of advertising the competition, Rosemary. I have two quick points to add: why not buy that reusable eco-friendly cup from a Christian charity such as TLM/The Leprosy Mission? Also: I noticed my Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust magazine came in a biodegradable/compostable potato starch-based wrapper. I hope other outlets (and ACW perhaps?) may follow suit.