Clearing up the Christmas aftermath created a consciousness as to how I was ridding the house of the mountain of wrapping paper, cardboard boxes, cards and unwanted packaging. It really brought home just how much waste one household produced over this short period. I felt compelled to dispose of it all responsibly and send it off to be recycled in the appropriate manner.
Compared to a few years ago, this is made pretty easy now as most local councils provide us with various colour coded bins for us to separate the waste ready for the local services to take it off to hopefully be recycled and not put into landfill.
Feeling satisfied that I had done the right thing, I began to question just how much of that rubbish was necessary in the first place.
First day back at work I sat in the office and started to plan the week ahead, making orders with various suppliers for parts we’d need for the coming week. Before I knew it, parts started to arrive to fulfil my orders as normal, although this time round I was awfully aware of how much unnecessary packing turned up with the parts. During the course of the morning more deliveries arrived and before I knew it, the office was strewn with plastic bags everywhere. I couldn’t believe my eyes. We are only a small garage, working on between 3-5 cars at any one time, it begged the question how many bags a day do the larger garages get and if you add that up just in our county, let alone country, the numbers would surely be staggering. What was more apparent was that none of the bags really needed to be there and all of the bags were brand new, never used before. Just one small part from Porsche arrived, not wrapped in one but three, yes three plastic bags, so why? More and more parts were being delivered from BMW, Mercedes and automotive part suppliers and the pile of bags just kept growing.
I started to do a little research into the dreaded plastic bag and here are a few facts I found. Every second 160,000 plastic bags are being used globally, that equates up to a trillion bags used every year. The amount of petroleum it takes to produce just one plastic bag could drive a car 11 metres! Did you also know that the average usage time of a plastic bag is just 12 minutes before it generally gets discarded? Another horrifying fact is that only 3% of bags are recycled worldwide. If just one person used recycled plastic bags in their lifetime, that would be removing 22,000 plastic bags from the environment. It’s a bit of an eye opener, isn’t it?
From here I started to look at our suppliers’ websites to see if they had recycling policies. Some did, but with no mention of plastic bags, and some were more concerned with displaying the gender pay gap statistics with no recycling policy to be seen anywhere.
Whilst I can’t change the world and am not claiming to be the next Green Super Hero, what I can and will do is be more conscious and less tolerant of unnecessary plastic bags and packaging. If we all did the same maybe we could make the ‘acceptable’ face of pollution unacceptable.