The Fall of the Plastic Fantastic

Eco Warrior. Those two words conjure a general stereotypical image in the imagination of many. When I asked a range of people to describe an Eco Warrior most said an unwashed, dreadlocked, hemp wearing individual tied to a tree, or shouting from an offshore Greenpeace vessel. It appears most depict the look while completely avoiding the point of what this person has set out to achieve. When you type 'eco-warrior' into Google it states the definition is 'a person actively involved in preventing damage to the environment'. 

In actual fact there are a great number of conscientious people who may fall under the term 'Eco Warrior' without realising it. Those who teach their children to garden, to grow vegetables, to look after the bees. The people who take an active roll in recycling, or those that decide to walk to the shops instead of drive to help reduce pollution just a little bit. I would probably fall under the term myself, we try and save the bees in our garden. We try and recycle. We at  least do 'our bit'. Sadly however, it is time to admit 'our bit' is simply not enough. 

When my first child was happily growing inside my belly I did what many parents do, made outrageous comments on what my children will or won't do. 'My child would never get away with behaving like that' 'My child will not be seen dead in those'. One very major one was 'my child will not be playing with all those horrible plastic toys'. As you become a parent you are aware they are everywhere, whizzing noises, flashing lights, and the kids love them. I really tried. For the first year I bought purely educational wooden blocks, or wooden trains or shape sorters. Come her first birthday I had very little say and as well wishers appeared so did the Plastic Fantastic. I admit my hatred of them was down to the look of them, the garishness, and the environmental impact did not come first. As I saw my wonderful child's face light up I accepted them for the happiness they bought. Six years later I think it is time for a change.  

I began the ominous task of a spring clean last week. It was long overdue. In one hand was my bin bag, ready to accept anything that wasn't charity shop worthy, in the other my donation box. I was ruthless and with only one shelf of many sorted I was suddenly horrified with the results. My donation box remained fairly empty, only the more hard wearing fisher price had survived the baby years and were in good enough condition to pass on. The bin bag, however, was full. I was ruthlessly chucking out broken plastic. There were scores of funfair prizes, kinder egg toys, party bag fillers. Happyland had definitely not held together so well, jagged edges and cracked windows. It was so easy to chuck the junk, throw it in the wheelie bin and forget about it, but then what?

These days we are all aware of our environmental impacts. Ignore it if you like, but the problem is real. Our fish are filled with plastic. We are the cause of global warming. We clear our homes but our waste just goes to landfill and then eventually the oceans. It is time we draw the line. Can we start asking people not to buy our children plastic? I already know my daughter is requesting plastic from Santa (and yes I know she is already talking Christmas in June). Does it just make me a mean parent?

Children's toys are just the start of it. I filled my fruit bowl today, the amount of 'not yet recyclable' plastic that came with it was shameful. In the past I have ranted 'how is non recyclable plastic even allowed these days?' It is a good point. But if we, the consumers, stop buying it in the first place then there will be no call for it at all. 

It's time. This July we are asked to go plastic free. Where the hell do you start? The thought of it seems impossible. All our food is in plastic, our cosmetics, our purchases. The fact is we have ignored it too long, the time has come where we HAVE to do something. Even if we can't cut it all out, we can cut out most. give some top tips on where to start. Will you join me? Only we can can bring down the Plastic Fantastic. It is down to us to be the superheroes for our kids, because to hear that 'by 2050 there will be more plastic in our ocean than fish' scares the hell out of me.