Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill and waste campaigner Karen Cannard have teamed up to encourage residents to give up plastic for Lent.
The nationwide campaign to reduce the use of plastic during the 40 days in the run up to Easter can be followed on social media with those taking on the challenge, posting their progress to the slogan #giveupplasticforlent
Jo explains how they are taking responsibility for their ‘plastic footprint’.
If ‘Brexit’ was the buzzword of 2017, then ‘plastic’ is certainly an early contender for 2018!
Sweeping the nation is a renewed social and political commitment to reduce our plastic dependency.
With just 9 per cent of all 8.3 billion tons of plastic having ever been recycled, the stark realisation is that not enough is being done.
The real turning point was, of course, the shocking footage the world witnessed watching Blue Planet II, with a personal plea from Sir David Attenborough himself to consider our planet’s future.
Since then we’ve seen a wholesale commitment from the Government on ocean plastics, microbeads, fly-tipping and now a twenty five year plan for a greener future. This week, even Her Majesty the Queen made a commitment to ban single use plastics on all royal estates!
Now, Karen and I are teaming up this lent to challenge ourselves to ‘pass on plastics’ and reduce our plastic footprint.
Starting today (February 14), this exciting challenge will see us both make small but powerful changes to our home, travel and leisure.
By exposing the consequences of our everyday actions and rethinking our harmful habits we hope to highlight the simple changes we all can make.
Karen is a prolific campaigner and works tirelessly to highlight that our lifestyle is where we can make the biggest difference. For example, packaging of goods is the main source of plastic waste and accounts for approximately 59% (2.2 million tonnes) of all plastics we dispose of.
It is easy to think that change should primarily come from major producers and providers. But the change our planet needs will not come quick enough if we just rely on companies to overhaul their practice.
Nor will it come if we simply seek to recycle more. Currently, around 94% of all UK local authorities offer collection facilities for plastic bottles and other plastics, but the various types of household plastics – carrier bags, yoghurt pots, pipes and fittings – make it harder to store, separate and outsource for recycling. Furthermore, it can take 450 years, at the least, for plastics to decompose, further emphasising the need to act now.
That is why we are taking responsibility for our plastic footprint and using this commitment to encourage others to join us. Simple steps include bringing our own reusable bags when shopping, replacing bottled soaps with bars and giving up disposable cups and plastic bottles.
Furthermore, we want to encourage supermarkets and providers to recognise where improvements can be made, particularly in the packaging of fresh fruit and vegetables and the excess of packaging of electrical goods in deliveries.
I’m sure we can all think of an example where we’ve thrown away more excess than the item itself. Not only is it frustrating to dispose of but it is largely unnecessary and does more harm than good.
So this lent, we invite you to join with us as we ‘pass on plastics’ and rethink our harmful habits. If we can get everyone to help a little, then together, we can make a big difference.
Follow our challenge on Twitter @jochurchill4 and @KarenCannard using the hashtag #GiveUpPlasticsForLent
You can follow their Lent Plastic Challenge calendar at www.churchcare.co.uk/images/Plastic_Free_Lent.pdf
Karen will appear on ITV’s ‘Plastic, can you live without it?’ documentary, tomorrow (February 15) at 7.30pm.