Can small changes make a difference to the environment asks Martin Cooper

In April this year, a tax will be introduced in the UK on some plastic packaging.

In April this year, a tax will be introduced in the UK on plastic packaging that doesn’t contain at least 30 per cent recycled material. - Credit: MARTIN COOPER

It's hard to look at the headlines from around the world - rising temperatures, the weather phenomena causing extreme flooding or horrendous heat and fires, the lack of action at COP 26 - and think there is anything we can do as individuals to protect our planet - but we definitely can!

In the past 18 months we have seen bans on plastic straws, plastic cotton buds and plastic drink stirrers and we all know to take a shopping bag with us or a refillable water bottle with us when we go out – all helping reduce the amount of single use plastic products available to us.

But despite our best efforts, the main issue is with single use plastic items we use for just a few minutes or days and are not able to dispose of correctly, that can remain on land and in seas, damaging our environment for hundreds of years – and there are so many of them.

In April this year, a tax will be introduced in the UK on plastic packaging that doesn’t contain at least 30 per cent recycled material, in an attempt to encourage businesses to think about the materials they use and recycle more - it's a start but will this encourage increased recycling or just be accepted by companies who just pay the tax?

A recent public consultation by the Government asked whether plastic plates and cutlery should be banned.

While the sentiment is good, and single use plastic will be further reduced, the issue with these items is more about a mindset shift from the throw away culture we are used to – they are convenient and don’t require planning or thinking about.

There are many alternatives to plastic out there, or different ways of doing things that may not be quite as easy, but by making these simple switches, will have a lasting impact on our environment – in a positive way, rather than a negative one!

Most Read

Since opening a year ago, my shop has reduced the number of single use plastic packaging and bottles for cleaning products or food items by more than 15,000 items, through reuse and refilling - a small drop in the ocean, but it’s a start.

By refusing to buy new and with a little bit of planning and preparation, we can, by making wiser choices by reusing what we have and reducing what we send to landfill.