Plastic is everywhere: it’s in our packaging, buildings, clothes, consumer products, transportation, electronics, and industrial machinery. It has found its way to almost every corner of the world, seeping into and disrupting ecosystems. It is estimated that 100,000 marine mammals die every year as a result of plastic pollution (1), and that’s just marine animals. At a time where we are facing the sixth mass extinction of the planet, we need to prevent the unnecessary deaths of innocent animals. We need to step into our role as guardians of this beautiful planet and say no to our dependence on plastic.
The British government lead us to believe that the UK are pioneers in stopping plastic waste, yet less than 10% of the UK’s household plastic packaging is actually recycled in the UK (2). It is shipped and dumped into other countries, leaving it for them to deal with. This poses grave health conditions, with problems like respiratory issues, nosebleeds and headaches reported by the local communities e.g. Malaysia (3). Our “out of sight, out of mind” mentality is coming at a serious cost for our fellow human beings. This needs to stop.
So, the good news? There are alternative options: we just need to learn a few lessons from our ancestors, the true pioneers of zero-waste living. Before the prosperity of our modern times, people were more resourceful with what they had. There simply weren’t the resources for people to wrap every item of food in a different piece of packaging. People brought their own containers and packaging. Reusing things wasn’t part of an ignored triad (reduce, reuse & recycle); it was at the core of consumer behaviour. It was just, quite simply, what people did.
We want to revive this mentality; we want to bring back the value of actually valuing things. We want to make Forest Row a plastic free community, following the footsteps of millions of people across the UK.
Following Surfers Against Sewage's nationwide campaign, we wish to make Forest Row a Plastic Free Community. This doens't mean that there will be no more plastic in Forest Row, which would be an almost impossible feat. We just want to put an end to single-use plastics; we want to create alternative pathways, where they are possible.
https://learn.tearfund.org/-/media/learn/resources/reports/2019-tearfund-consortium-no-time-to-waste-en.pdf and https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2018/10/21/uk-household-plastics-found-in-illegal-dumps-in-malaysia/
The first step? Getting the council on board. Please email the parish council expressing your desire to become a plastic free community, or use our template below.
Next, email your local MP calling for a deposit return scheme (much like the milkman!). https://www.sas.org.uk/depositreturnscheme/.
And finally, sign up to our newsletter for updates on what you can do to achieve a Plastic Free Community.
We can do this, together.
Dear Forest Row Parish Council,
I am writing to you about the shocking state of plastic consumption in the UK and how we, the Forest Row community, need to take a stand.
Despite the government’s belief that we are leading pioneers in fighting plastic pollution, the UK is still the second biggest producer of plastic waste per person. This is harming wildlife, but also posing a serious threat to people in other countries. Communities in countries such as Malaysia are reporting grave health problems, from respiratory issues, nosebleeds and headaches. This is not just an ecological issue, it is a human rights issue.
Thanks to Surfers Against Sewage, more than 700 communities across the UK have signed up to become a Plastic Free Community, with several councils taking the pledge to make this dream a reality. It is time that we join this collective movement and commit to becoming a Plastic Free Community, for the sake of all.
The Forest Row Parish Council is in a unique position to lead change on single-use plastics. Not only do the people of Forest Row look up to the council for guidance, but the Parish Council also has powers beyond the average person. I am thus writing to you to ask for your support. Please help make Forest Row a Plastic Free Community.
With the help of Surfers Against Sewage, Friends of the River Medway are striving to turn the tide on plastics and paint a new vision for Forest Row. Please get in contact with them at email@example.com so that we as a community can move towards a greener future.
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