Tag Archives: litter

Sustainability action 5 : reducing plastic bags

Use durable long-lasting bags to shop rather than plastic bags.

This is the type of hemp-cotton bag I use instead of plastic bags to shop with.  So eco-friendly squirrels love them.

This is the type of hemp-cotton bag I use instead of plastic bags to shop with. The eco-friendly nature of the bag gets the thumbs up from Colchester squirrels, especially when chocolate is involved.

Today I went to the food store with my durable hemp-cotton bag, using this to carry my food purchases rather than using plastic bags.  I have two of these bags, one you can see being raided by a Colchester squirrel in the photograph, which I have had for about a year.

During my recent litter pick it was the plastic waste I found more of.  Plastic is made from oil products, and is a choking or suffocation hazard to animals.  Plastic mostly is resistant to decay, which makes it such an annoying and destructive form of rubbish.

Britain is taking a good stance against plastic, some shops now charging for plastic bags, or paying the customer to reuse bags.  Traders have worked out that discouraging people from using their plastic bags is good for the environment as well as their profits.  Often I am asked in the shop if I want a bag with a look in the eye of the retail assistant that makes me feel like a puppy murderer if I said “yes”.

Plastic bags won’t be totally eliminated from my life, for they are useful to protect items from the British rain, and to use when picking up litter.

Sustainability action 3: picking up rubbish

A dead mouse in a bottle was a graphic reminder how discarded rubbish harms wildlife.

Animals like this Colchester rabbit are at risk of harm from discarded rubbish.

Animals like this Colchester rabbit are at risk of harm from discarded rubbish.

An individual can take sustainable action by not taking energy out of the environment such as by using solar power; they can put energy back into the environment by planting trees; or they can repair damage to energy systems by eliminating disruptions like removing discarded rubbish.

I walked to an ancient nature park called Hilly Fields in Colchester armed with two bags to pick up rubbish.  The discarding of rubbish does harm to the animals, plants and the environment they depend upon.  In Britain we have a Queen, who resides mostly at Buckingham Palace in London; on Hilly Fields is the former royal palace of the first recorded King of Britain, called Cunobelin, recognised and recorded as such by the Roman Emperors from the time of Emperor Augustus.  The Queen has no trouble with litter at Buckingham Palace, but at Hilly Fields it is a different story.  Whilst Hilly Fields was reasonably clean, I still came away with two full bags of rubbish.

As a graphic reminder of the harm rubbish does to wildlife I came across a discarded glass bottle. Poking out of the end of this bottle was the head of a dead mouse.  The mouse had got into the bottle, became trapped, and died.  Less than five metres away from the bottle with the dead mouse was a litter bin.  I was angry.  A lazy, ignorant, careless human being had rather than using the litter bin steps away had thrown the bottle on the ground, a living creature paid for that carelessness with its life.  All actions have consequences; small may be our actions, thoughts and words, large can be the impact.

A few hundred yards from the dead mouse Druids from two thousand years ago had buried a cauldron, known as the Sheepen Cauldron in honour to their earth goddess.  These Druids would be horrified if they knew how their Colchester descendants treat the earth, the very location where they walked with respect, by dumping rubbish across it, leading to pollution of the ground and the death of animals.  Those who live in the modern age tend to view our ancestors as backward savages, but I wondered who really is the backward savage.

I find my sustainable actions open doors to other activities.  After returning home I wrote an e-mail to my local Colchester councillors asking for signs to be put up in all Colchester nature parks telling people to take their rubbish home with them.  A letter is planned for the local newspaper.