The Awareness Diary #2

No idea what The Awareness Diary is? Then maybe you should go back and read post #1 but, if you don’t have the time or inclination for that, it’s basically a realisation that I don’t give much thought to the impact of the things I do and buy and a ‘diary’ of my attempts to do something about it.

At first, I planned to write something here every day, but I’m not quite self-obsessed enough to think that my life is going to throw up exciting questions on a daily basis or that anyone wants to read my random opinions that much, so instead I will post when I have a few little thoughts to share. 

#1 closed with my contemplation of metal bottle tops. Of course, it is highly dependent on where in the world you live but if you have steel/aluminium recycling wherever you are then the answer seems to be that you can just throw them in the correct recycling bin. The issue is that depending on the machinery your recycling plant uses they might be too physically small to get through without just dropping out somewhere along the way. You can counter this by putting them into an empty can of the same metal and then squishing it shut so that they go through the machinery along with the can. You also apparently don’t have to worry about the little plastic liner that might be inside them.

Linked, albeit tenuously, by the glass bottle….

Yesterday we grabbed something to eat while we were out which included a couple of glass bottled drinks, and each came accompanied with a single-use plastic glass. These things are everywhere, I have no idea how many we get through, but think about bars that allow you to drink outside in many cities, fast-food places, festivals, and the number must be huge.

In this case we just drank from the bottles and returned the plastic glasses, but in the bar or festival examples above you aren’t allowed to do that, the whole point there is to avoid the danger of broken glass. So, what is the solution, how do we reduce the number of these ‘glasses’ that are used and thrown away on a daily basis?

Businesses could choose to use other forms of more recyclable or biodegradable glasses. These generally have two issues, the first is that they are considerably more expensive, the second is that they are usually not transparent and people like their beer or wine in a see-through vessel. I’m not sure I have an answer to this particular conundrum but I’ll keep thinking about it.

On an individual level, the answer is simple, you just carry around a reusable non-glass cup or glass of your own and ask for your drink to be poured into that instead of the plastic glass it would normally come in. It might not always be so convenient, but if you have a bag of any kind with you then it’s also not really a hassle. This also works with takeaway coffee (some coffee places will even give you a few cents/pennies off for using your own cup)! 

As an aside, I’m assuming the bottles we drank from went into the recycling, but I wonder what they did with our bottle caps!

I’m also finding myself being increasingly annoyed by the ridiculous amount of single-use plastics involved in any kind of supermarket shopping. What if I don’t want to put each kind of fruit or vegetable into a separate bag to weight it, what if I have my own bag(s) or want to combine things into one plastic bag instead of having several that are almost empty. This seems to cause multiple problems, especially if you have any intention of using a self-service checkout which will then beep maddeningly at you for every item because the weights will be wrong. 

Supermarkets are a later challenge to tackle, but I think when I am out and about the city today I will keep my eye out for some kind of cool reusable cup/glass that can live in my backpack. 🙂

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