• felicitywright6

A Zero Waste Society

We have a quote in our Community Wardrobe: "Don't throw it away - there is no such place as 'away'"

We have now seen this taken further -"away isn't some magical place, it's landfill, an incinerator, the bottom of the ocean or an animal's stomach. It's always somewhere else."

Doesn't that make you think?

How much do you throw away?

This week we went to the optician, as we have been doing for many, many years with the old glasses of those members of the family who now have a new prescription, only to be told that they were no longer accepting unwanted specs to be re-used.

How disappointing.

If we are going to become a zero waste society this is the kind of thing we need to fix. We need all companies and businesses who sell us goods to make it easy for us to re-use or recycle those we no longer need (or want). They all

need to consider responsible

end-of -life for their products.

Too often it seems to be that one employee takes it upon themselves to organise recycling or re-use, and if that person moves away, the initiative grinds to a halt.

It's not really good enough.

We couldn't find anywhere local to recycle those old specs so we'll either have to hang on to them in the hope of a new scheme starting up, or maybe we could send them to an online site specialising in restoring and refurbishing glasses. We're actually now considering going to one of them when we need a new pair.

Although, is buying online necessarily the right thing? What about the delivery vans polluting as they go? And the excess packaging? Everyone has to make their own choices.

We pick up new habits as we go along and many of these are governed by our finances. We can't afford to do all we would want to do, but it is a great feeling when you are financially able to make a change.

Please don't feel bad if you're not there yet. We all have to choose our priorities, and it may well be that you are already doing something that we aren't.

Anyway, you don't have to go so far as to change your supplier. All of us who wear glasses can do so a bit more sustainably with just a little thought. If you need a new prescription but are still happy with the frames, just get the lenses changed.

Say no to the new case they seem to give us every single time, without ever asking if we really need one.

What about contact lenses? What do you think they are made of - yes, plastic! And they are designed to be disposable. While doing a bit of research this week, we discovered that Vision Express will recycle them, so there's something else many of us can do.

So we found that recycling our glasses wasn't very easy, but we have made another change that has fitted really easily into our routine. Spurred on by our efforts in Plastic Free July, we are now recycling the plastic we still find really hard to avoid - soft plastic like bread bags and crisp packets.

We go into the Co-op three times a week to pick up food the our Community Fridge. The Co-op has done just the right thing and put their plastic recycing bin right at the entrance, so it is incredibly easy for us to pop our wrappings in there each time we visit.

It help when a business makes recycling easy. It also helps when it can easily become part of your everyday routine. We would not no sooner leave the house without our keys and phone than without our recyclable plastics on a "Co-op pick up morning".

We're also looking into Wyatt and Jack, a very cool company that repurpose fabric from bouncy castles, paddling pools and inflatables into gorgeous waterproof bags. Since 2010 they have saved between 80 and 90 tonnes of material from landfill - that's the equivalent to the weight of around 60 family cars.

That will take care of our burst and torn paddling pool.

But there's another very thorny, very current issue - single-use facemasks. You must have noticed how many of them are littering our streets. Research shows that throughout the world we are using - and disposing of - 129 billion masks a month. That's the equivalent of three million masks every single minute of the day!

Thankfully there are now options for us here in the UK. Morrisons and Wilko now have bins for you to drop your mask into.

The chain has partnered with recycling specialists ReWorked, Metrisk Ltd and Scan2Recycle to provide special collection bins for customers to safely drop off their used single-use face masks.

Once the bins are full, they will be safely taken away so that the masks can be shredded down into raw materials, which can then be sustainably refashioned into products ranging from other safety materials, to building materials and even quality, durable public space furniture.

We try not to be too bossy, but we feel obliged at this point to mention that unless you require a medical-grade facemask, you should really be using something that can be washed and used again.

We are writing all this just ahead of Zero Waste Week, which runs from 6th - 10th September. Head over to their website for more ideas of things you can do. We got the quote for the beginning of this blog from there, so just imagine what else we may find.


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