plastic free guildford
Extinction Rebellion Guildford members are working in conjunction with the Plastic Free Guildford scheme to help rid the borough of single-use plastic.
It's predicted that by 2050 there will be more items of plastic in the oceans than there are fish! Microplastics enter our food chains and plastic particles are now being found in our poo for the first time in our existence. These habits are slowly killing not only us, but all our fellow beings.
The plastic pollution problem is a visible and profound reminder of how our consumerist lifestyle is destroying the world. The throwaway culture that we live in is having devastating effects on the planet's wildlife and ecosystems.
But the plastic waste issue goes much deeper than balking at rivers of rubbish floating through a South-East Asian city.
This is a problem of social injustice, and of unrestrained markets exploiting people and resources for profit. In the UK we ship thousands of tons of rubbish to the global south. This policy of 'out of sight out of mind' is a marker of how far removed we, as a society, are from the consequences of our consumerism. This problem is now visible for all to see as some countries symbolically ship tanker-loads of our own plastic waste back to us.
Cutting down on plastic use will not only have immeasurable benefits for wildlife, it will significantly combat climate breakdown. Every single product that we use is manufactured somewhere, usually using fossil fuels, then shipped possibly thousands of miles, using more fossil fuels. Recycling plastic waste means more fossil fuel use when the waste item is transformed into something new. And that's assuming it doesn't just get burned or buried!
Thankfully, this is one issue that we as individuals can have a massive impact on. And it can even save us money and improve our health while battling the problem!
In an economic system in which growth is the only driver, consumers have far more power than they choose to wield. We can influence how manufacturers package products by simply refusing to buy their products, and telling them why we are stopping. Sadly, through our disconnect with the consequences of our actions, and because convenience has become the norm in people's habits, many of us choose not to make this statement.
Thankfully the world is waking up to this crisis. There are zero-waste shops popping up all over the UK, and they are cheaper than supermarkets. Removing single-use plastic from our lives is not that difficult. And for councils looking to meet carbon budgets it is a good step on the road to carbon neutrality.
XR Guildford believes that community projects like this are crucial for outreach and cohesion within society. Coming together on issues like the the plastic waste problem is a great starting block for the bigger challenges that we must all face together as a society. To get involved with any of our projects come along to one of our meetings and meet like-minded caring individuals.