FOR PLANET AND PEOPLE
Bethia writes: February’s Planet Action Kit is all about waste and how we can help our kids grow up with an awareness of the problems of waste and how important it is that we change our relationship with the things we no longer have a use for. It’s a great place to start by simply reducing the amount you leave out for the council each time, but more effective and long lasting change comes from seeing waste in a different way and changing our attitudes and behaviours. We’ve had great fun making new paper out of old and shrinking crisp packets down to make keyrings!
Have we become victims of convenience?
One of the big problems is surely that it has become so easy for us o throw things away. Convenience is worshipped in our society - it has to be easy and quick to get. But that means we subconsciously value it less - we probably didn’t have to wait or work too much to get it. Goods are cheap - and if they’re not then there is nearly always a cheap option. The quantity of goods is vast - supermarkets are no longer a place to buy food. They sell clothes, electrical goods, insurance - everything is everywhere. Stuff, for so many of us has become ‘easy’. The logical next-step is that it becomes easy to chuck it away and get another one.
Let's face the facts:
Facing the facts is always a great motivator and helps us move away from the casual chucking:
An electronic tablet contains 35 different minerals
Earth’s forests once covered 60% of land surface but now covers less than 30%
9% of plastic is recycled, 12% is incinerated and 79% is buried in landfill or dumped on land or at sea
A plastic straw takes 200 years to break down into tiny pieces
Enough plastic is thrown away every year to wrap around the Earth four times
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the north Pacific Ocean is three times the size of France
45% of fruit and vegetable products are wasted
Three easy steps to make changes for a happier planet
Before you feel hopeless and helpless, there are three easy steps we can all take and they are changes that aren’t hard to make. They might look it, but once you make a commitment and adapt your lifestyle to fit them in, they soon become second nature.
Reduce waste (go for refill options, return your plastic waste to supermarkets and let them know that you are not happy about excessive packaging, use things until they are used up)
Reuse (be creative - what could it be next, repurpose - do I need to buy again or can something else do that job, reuse from other people - shop second hand wherever and whenever possible)
Recycle (follow your council-led recycle scheme to the letter, look for other recycling schemes outside your waste collection - for toothpaste tubes, crisp packets, plastic bags, toothbrushes etc.)
We are massive fans of positivity and empowering people to action. The waste problem we have is a great shame and we should feel ashamed of how we have allowed ourselves to care so little about our ‘stuff’... but we have such capacity for change and for determination. Our kids are brilliant at adapting and if we sow the seeds now, they will grow up with the three ‘R’s above as second nature. You don’t have to arrive at the end result straight away, just take the next step and make sure that the path you are on is towards less waste.
We are excited about the February Planet Action Kit because it is a small way that we can spread this message to the next generation. Let’s think twice before we casually throw things away. Join us for the February challenge and treat a child to a Planet Action Kit!
FOR PLANET AND PEOPLE is a weekly blog conversation by ‘Planet & People’ to reflect our values and behaviours and encourage open conversation on topical eco-issues.
We are the creators of 'Planet Action Kit', inspiring kids to LOVE the Earth. PAK is an educational resource and subscription activity box providing personalised learning resources engaging budding planet-friendly kids. The activities focus on the four main themes: Love, Observe, inVolve and Enjoy and are centred around matters of environment and sustainability.