We live in a world that is full of plastic, some of it is incredibly hard to avoid, but a great deal of the plastic waste we encounter in day to day life is entirely unnecessary. Plastic is cheap & has become a such a convenient material to use, that many cannot see a way around using it.
Whilst it is lovely to see more organisations making changes to show more of an environmental awareness, I feel that as consumers we need to do more to encourage those changes to stick & increase further change.
Our family doesn’t eat out a lot, but when we do, I have started to ask more about packaging, because I have learnt that just because you see biodegradable packaging , doesn’t mean that what you order will come in it or that they won’t throw in plastic cutlery. I have asked not to have plastic cutlery & still had it thrown in with a meal or had my reusable cup used, but had the beverage measured out in a plastic one, that they threw out, before they put it in my cup. I very rarely return to places that don’t seem to get it, but on occasion, I have returned & taken the opportunity to practice being more clear with my requests, because it’s all about education too, if after that chance they still screw it up, that’s it. That “little bit” of plastic might seem fairly insignificant, for what is usually a few minutes of convenience, but it really isn’t.
I have found more often than not when you ask & state your reasons for asking, people are generally receptive & supportive. There are of course the eye rollers, too, but mostly I find it emboldens others to show their support.
A few weeks ago when we were at Upper Canada Village, I was really disappointed to find that the lemonade that used to be in jars pre-covid, was now being served in plastic cups. When I enquired, I was told that the plastic cups were made from corn, but after being given the details of the company, I did a search & discovered that they could only be composted where facilities exist. Do you know how many commercial composting facilities there are that can break down the cups appropriately? Me neither. So, I politely refused, stating why & in the end was able to get the lemonade in our own metal cups. The two women that I was speaking with actually commented on how much they appreciated that we are obviously trying to do our part & whilst they aren’t as hardcore as we are (all a matter of perception) they shared how they are also trying to reduce waste themselves & how nice to it was to see someone else doing so too.
In the end our “voice” is not only our literal voice, but where we spend our money. Support those that support the environment so that it encourages them to continue to do so & improve on what they are doing, whilst also encouraging others to do what they can too.