Our family’s New Year resolution was underway at the stroke of midnight, the three of us and our two dogs will be attempting a plastic free year. We begin our mini mission on the day that China introduces a ban on the import of 24 different grades of waste from oversees for recycling. Its reason, in recent years it has become much richer but much dirtier.
China’s ‘National Sword’ campaign is a reaction to the overwhelming amount of rubbish being sent to the country. Last year, 7.3 million tonnes of scrap plastic was imported to China from Europe alone, according to the Bureau of International Recycling.
Sending the problem away hasn’t been the answer so far and this ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude is one that I am familiar with. I know that plastic is bad for the environment, I know it clogs up rivers and wreaks havoc on the natural world yet I am still part of the problem. As a consumer, every time I buy a product encased in plastic I’m making a choice. Often I justify my purchase by searching out the universal ‘chasing arrow’ logo knowing the plastic will at some point be recycled in another form.
Yet recycling is not without its problems, the process is a dirty one and causes pollution, and often times poorer nations take the burden. And so today is the beginning of our little journey to live a little more cleanly, a little more wisely and a little more conscientiously. Going forward we aim to quit single use plastic materials, buy less stuff, chose products with less packaging if any. Reduce, reuse and only then recycle.