By Dawn Renton
It seems more important than ever to “go green” and we are all encouraged to do so at every opportunity.
We have a rainbow of wheelie bins cluttering up our gardens to help us recyle our waste more efficiently and now we are being charged 5p if we use a carrier bag while we’re out doing some retail therapy.
I think that it’s a great idea! In 2012, supermarkets handed out over eight billion single-use plastic carrier bags across the UK.
That roughly amounts to over 120 per person. This equates to about 60,000 tonnes of single-use carrier bags in total over the year. That’s really a heck of a lot of plastic!
Discarded bags are a very visible form of littering.
How many times have you walked along the street and seen plastic bags lying on the pavement or caught up in trees?
And not to mention the injury that they can do to marine and land wildlife.
I always hate seeing pictures of poor little creatures having to be cut free from plastic carriers and the like - which is all down to our own thoughtlessness and carelessness.
But the effects that plastic bags have on the environment goes beyond littering and making our towns look a bit scruffy and unloved.
They consume important resources, including oil, while they are being manufactured.
Even when disposed of responsibly, plastic bags can still last for long periods of time in landfill sites.
So it makes perfect sense to rid the world of these pesky things.
Scotland introduced the carrier charge earlier this month and Wales and Ireland already have it in place.
England will follow suit in October 2015.
Ireland even donate the money made on the charge to their Wildlife Trust, meaning that in the event that you are caught short and don’t have a spare bag tucked away when you hit the shops, then at least your 5p is going to a really good cause.
So I’m all for us going green.
No carrier bag means I can whip out my amazing Mick Jagger canvas tote whether I’m buying fruit and veg (okay crisps and chocolate!) in Tesco or winter woolies from New Look and know that I’m doing my bit.
But being a bit more aware of the damage that we are all doing to the environment and how to fix it and improve it, doesn’t mean you have to go to extremes.
You don’t have to live life like a hippy, or grow dreadlocks, wear clothes made from hemp, live up a tree or join the Trident Nuclear Submarine protest group at Faslane - but if you did, I would certainly back you all the way.
Nor do I expect you to start raising livestock or growing crops and vegetables in your back garden in the manner of Felicity Kendall and Richard Bryers in The Good Life (ask your mum or dad).
Although do check with your neighbours because that could be a great idea.
Who doesn’t want chickens or even a goat running around the garden? Just don’t mention the casserole dish within their earshot!
Living your life in a greener fashion, thinking in a more environment friendly way and becoming a more ethical consumer isn’t as tricky, expensive or mundane as you think.
If we all make sure that we all recycle, cut down on the use of carrier bags, leave the car at home on occasion and either walk or use public transport, it would all help.
And when you think about it, it is a rather small ask in the great grand scheme of things. If we all make these changes then maybe things can start to turn around.
We sort of have a duty to this planet that we all call home to take care of it.
No act of kindness, no matter how small or unnewsworthy it might appear to be, can be thought of as a waste.
So there is nothing left to say other than why not drink a great big shot of bright green wheatgrass to celebrate your good karma!