To find ways to counterbalance all the damage that is done to our planet is not an easy task. A lot of thinking and effort is needed. Even when we recycle jars, milk bottles and other glass and plastic containers, I sometimes wonder what the end benefit is in relation to having to rinse the containers before disposing of them. For that reason I try to use water that I cannot use for drinking but that is available. For example, sometimes my daughter brings her water bottle home from school half or three-quarters full. In the past, when I gave her the same water, she complained that it tasted 'funny'. So instead of simply throwing that water away, I now keep it aside. If there are no containers to be rinsed, I can always use the water in the garden.
I think that people’s awareness has grown significantly in the last 10 years. Many of us have become more conscious citizens, and our expectations as customers are rising. It is quite noticeable how many cafes are making use of pre-used jars to serve drinks in them, for instance. People who get take-away drinks have also started to take their own cup instead of a disposable one. All that is very commendable and we should celebrate that. However, we still need to do more, and raise more awareness.
If only we humans have never invented plastic. In my opinion, that was one of the most detrimental creations to our environment. I miss the days when we had the deposit-refund system for our glass-bottled drinks, and milk was delivered -to your door- in recycled glass bottles, for example. It wasn’t that long ago, and it wasn’t that hard either. We have returned to that concept in some ways, by taking our own shopping bags to the shops. There are shops where you can take your own containers and buy your grains, cereal, sugar, flour, etc in your own jars. More of that should be encouraged. Of course, it requires organisation, determination and time. It is easier to simply grab pre-packed goods or, even when it’s not pre-packed, to use a plastic bag. However, most of the time, the plastic bag ends up in landfill.
Shouldn’t our governments be encouraging us to waste less? A recent article in the Post titled
"Subiaco bin-basher's not alone" (10 February 2018, p.38) made a point about the fact that a particular local council recently decided to replace their residents' recycling bin for a much larger one. A number of residents disliked the idea and thought (understandably) that this action was only encouraging more waste. The article also mentioned that there are certain towns that charge residents lower rates if their recycling bin is smaller. I think most of us would agree that people are easily motivated by such rewards, especially when the reward affects their pockets. This is a great opportunity and as citizens, we should let our government know that we want this kind of initiative.