Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Post 418 - 30 Days Wild - Day 8 - Polluting Plastic Packaging - No thanks

Hey everyone, Day 8 of 30 days wild already!

I got an email from 30 Days Wild and one of the things it mentioned was about becoming a champion for wildlife. That's a really great idea because we need more people to stick up for our wildlife.

It's quite simple to do too and you can get results you don't expect. I've written to my MP before and had a response, though not the second time I wrote so I will be writing again. Another thing I did where I didn't expect a response was with my #cleanfornature campaign. This is really simple. If you are out and about at reserves or at the beach and you see litter, especially plastic that can be recycled, pick it up and recycle it. If you can't recycle it - put it in the bin. Either way it will make the countryside tidier and will help out wildlife.

A bit of what I picked up at Quarry Moor
So I was on a reserve I visit quite often, Quarry Moor, and the litter there was the worst that I had seen. I don't blame the company I will mention in a bit for the litter, it's the customers, and it is probably younger customers too as most of what I found was round a play area on the reserve. There were straws, plastic drink cups and loads of little plastic sauce pots everywhere. Well I tweeted to the company involved and I got a response. Didn't expect that but it was great as I got to email them with some ideas. The first was to ask if they would help clean the reserve, the second was to ask if they could use biodegradable packaging especially in the little sauce pots.

Why did I do this in the first place? Why #cleanfornature? Well it's because plastic is not good for the environment. Springwatch has done films about this and litter dropped on land can hurt terrestrial wildlife but by being blown into streams and washed out to sea it harms marine wildlife too. Plastic doesn't break down quickly so it is building up in our oceans, it gets into marine life which hurts them and it gets into our food chains which hurts us. I saw evidence of this again at Bempton Cliffs where there is lots of plastic fishing line in the Gannets nests.

There's so much information on the internet about this now. Here's a page from my local wildlife Trust, the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust on plastic in the oceans. 80% of it comes from land and is washed out to sea! Supermarkets charging for plastic bags has been a big help but there is still a lot of plastic used that doesn't need to be or where other materials can be used (dad said remember single packed banana's?). I like seeing in some places I go now that you can get wooden disposable knives and forks. The video in this tweet is worth watching - a Ted Talk by Martin Doreys who started the #2minutebeachclean - plastic gets washed up everywhere, even in the Antarctic.

So, to stop it getting into the seas we need to use less plastic and I try to pick it up and recycle it when I see it. This is why I wrote to the company that has a store right next to Quarry Moor reserve. It's McDonalds. They took a while to check things out and respond but they were very helpful. They have agreed to alter their litter picking routes to help keep the reserve clean of litter. I was really amazed that a huge global company would listen to one small voice like mine. Thanks McDonalds for helping to keep a bit of my patch cleaner and safer for wildlife!

The plastic packaging though is harder for them to deal with and they aren't able to do anything immediately but they are always trying to make improvements and they would keep it in mind to look at alternatives when they do a review of their packaging. I saw a great article recently about a beer company that has changed from plastic can holders to ones which are edible for marine life. So alternatives are possible.
I'm just one little voice so I thought it might help if lots of other people said they'd like less plastic to be used, and not just with this company but with lots of others that use plastic especially takeaways and supermarkets. Small companies could help too.

Also what about microbeads. They seem strange to me. I don't know why you need to have plastic in toothpaste? They come in lots of products that get washed into our drains and are too small to be filtered out by our sewage plants. This gets into our marine life and is hurting them as the beads absorb harmful chemicals and then get into fish etc. See this webpage and this infographic from Greenpeace on Microbeads.

So on World Oceans Day I thought I'd start a petition that asks the Government to help our wildlife by asking companies like takeaways, retailers, and cosmetic companies to use less plastic. I don't know what results it will have but if the Government and the companies know we all want this to help our wildlife, well you never know....

I've started the petition off, it's logged on the Gov website and I'm just waiting for them to check it and make it live. I'll post a Thunderclap link when it's ready so that people can share the petition if they want to.

I'd really appreciate it if people would support this and our wildlife will benefit.

While my petition is being checked here's a few plastic petitions that you could sign

Greenpeace - Ban Microbeads

Actively work to reduce the use of plastic packaging by retailers in the UK

Ban the use of non-recyclable plastic film and unnecessary packaging on produce.

Hope you enjoyed,


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