Catching up with the campaign against plastic


No apologies for a third consecutive piece on plastic. I find I’m well behind the curve on this one, and I’m cheered to find so many other people are campaigning to cut their plastic use already. One of my neighbours spoke up at our residents’ association meeting last month: ‘What are we going to do about plastic?” She wondered what we and other residents’ groups could do together to nudge our shops into using less plastic? Or to educate school kids to insist on less plastic? Good questions, I thought.

I was already going to a local business network lunch and when I posed the same questions there, wow, what a positive response I got. Kelly, the owner of a local cafe, said she’d been working hard to eliminate single use plastic from her business – she’s not sorted plastic straws, but she’s getting there (though she has yet to persuade her staff not to buy bottles of drinking water instead of using a glass and the tap!) 

Another lunch-goer mentioned a new shop that has just opened in Chiswick, an Australian inspired dry goods store, The Source Bulk Foods  where you can bring your own containers. It’s not a new idea, the UK group As Nature Intended offers products in bulk (and at a price) in its stores, including the one in Chiswick. But I popped along with a few storage boxes, which the assistant carefully weighed before I filled them with porridge oats, almonds and red rice. The owner wants to turn the posh Turnham Green Terrace into the first Zero Waste street in West London. Maybe I wondered could the less trendy Askew Road get there too – or even first?

Then I heard science reporter Tracey Logan describing her Lenten pledge to give up plastic on Radio 4’s Easter Sunday programme, inspired by Blue Planet II.  Funnily enough, she lives in Chiswick, and impressively, she has persuaded the Waitrose supermarket there to allow customers to bring in their own containers to buy fish, cheese, or meat. I was further cheered by a chatty produce assistant who said Waitrose now want to replace the black plastic boxes they sell mushrooms and other produce in, as they are the hardest to recycle. Till they get round to it though, I will buy my mushrooms in a paper bag at a market stall.

I have made some steps myself in the last month:

I have taken the pledge to refuse, reduce, reuse or recycle plastic here

I have bought a reusable cup – a small one as I don’t buy takeout coffee or tea often but want to keep the cup in my bag for journeys.

I’ve put plenty of products back on the shelf and gone looking for others with less plastic, and had some good conversations with shopkeepers about plastic v paper bags.

And my neighbour and I are having coffee in at Kelly’s cafe to plan our next steps for a hyper local campaign! 

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