independent

Monday 14 October 2019

A Lidl can go a long way in battle against fake plastic environment

Opinion

Plastic rubbish washed up at a beauty spot, Pink Rock, near New Ross, Co Wexford
Plastic rubbish washed up at a beauty spot, Pink Rock, near New Ross, Co Wexford

David Looby

Isn't it funny how you get used to things which, when you think about them, are totally intolerable to you.

If, like me, you are hurtling through your life at break-neck speed, juggling a busy career, a family life - with all the pressures and running around that involves, while trying to make time for your own hobbies - keeping a weather-eye out on everything is impossible. Things get overlooked, housework sometimes, health (often), your environment, whether it is at work, or your own home.

Then a light-bulb switch is flicked in your mind and you see something that needs changing.

During a cycle alongside a river near my hometown last week I had said light-bulb moment. There, in my line of vision as I cycled back from a new bridge being built over the river Barrow, I saw a small field of plastic, washed up from the river. It stopped me in my tracks and made me aware of the scale of the problem facing the Irish Government and all governments in tackling this massive problem for the environment. In the same week we got a glimpse of a black hole for the first time, I started imagining the impact how we, as transient passers-by in this amazing world, have impacted it through our behaviour.

Most of us plod along and are happy with our recycling efforts. Many use compost bins and I have taken to using a reusable cup for my take-away coffees. So it was great to see a supermarket, Lidl, introduce in-store recycling to reduce packaging waste. Of course Lidl inevitably came up against a wall of opposition in environmental group, Sick of Plastic Campaign, who said the new bins conflict with the Government's advice on what to put in our recycling bins.

Lidl is offering customers segregated recycling stations, by offering them at the end of customer checkouts in all 160 stores across Ireland.

The bins will be rolled out from the start of May and will be available across all stores by the end of the month.

The group have highlighted that not all clear plastic is recyclable, including soft plastic which cannot be recycled in Ireland. Only rigid plastic can be recycled apparently.

There have been welcome national efforts to reduce plastic waste, including in schools which are banned from buying or using single-use plastic cups, cutlery or straws under a Government initiative which came into force earlier this month. So the days of parents wrapping their child's sandwiches in clingflm or packing lunch-boxes with plastic straws or single-use plastic bottles, are over.

At a time of freak weather events and species becoming instinct we all have a responsibility to think green and do our part for the environment.

My daughter has inadvertently suggested a way I could help. As we drove past a woman running the other day she said: 'Dad, you wouldn't be like her: skinny. You're more inclined towards chocolate than exercise.'

So less chocolate and less chocolate wrappers for me! A small price as littering and all waste is something I can never get used to.

Wexford People

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