Nothing says “I really value your friendship” like a scouring pad, right? Well hang on just a moment, because this (cue the M&S music with sultry voice) is a compostable coconut fibre pad, so I’m willing to wager the lucky recipient will be honoured to make their washing up experience both fun for themselves as well as better for the planet. Fortunately the friend in question is lovely and has graciously carried the millstone of our friendship for the past few years.
It’s true my longsuffering pals both in and out of work have embraced plenty of eco-friendly changes in order to reduce our carbon footprint. So I thought it might be rather fun to test the water with an entirely new team of unsuspecting (bait) colleagues, in my role at the vaccination hub. York is home to one of the national centres for you-know-what vaccinations and Tesco at Askham bar has certainly pulled out all the stops to make the site look big, professional and welcoming. Think Countryfile Live at Castle Howard (ah, the wistful memories of a carefree summer) meets We Buy Any Car, but minus the puddle-beset quagmire and the infuriating salesperson. And there you have an accurate picture of our giant series of marquee, cabins and portaloos, and all excellently orchestrated by a large team of stewards who are directing cars, escorting patients with mobility needs, and best of all, keeping the clinicians amused with walkie talkies. Ok so perhaps it’s only me that finds it funny. I had to resist the urge last week to says “testing testing 1,2,3”, and let me tell you it took every shred of willpower.
Well, just in case the vision of portaloos synonymous with endless queues and then unholy-scented cubicles with no loo roll has been wiped (excuse the pun) from your memory, I am proud to tell you that our patient toilet facilities at the vaccine hub are properly stocked, located centrally on site and kept smelling so lovely by the amazing Cleaning At Your Place, you could eat your dinner off them. But please don’t eat in our toilets. Or bring your own reading material. We tend to get a little on edge when people spend more than 20 mins in the toilet and you might end up being greeted by the crash trolley and a peering (and angrily desperate) mob while you’re pants-down. Not a great outcome for anyone is it?
But I see you drumming your fingers impatiently on the worktop wondering what the low-carbon link is today. Well, it’s all about recycling. And waste management. The vaccine hub is a gigantic area and understandably generates quite a lot of waste. Each of our little pods has different bins – one for sharp pointy things, one for dirty clinical waste, and one for domestic waste that goes to landfill. And on Thursday we also had some extra trays, swooping in like caped crusaders, ready to receive paper for recycling. This is for the paper backing on the syringe packets. Certainly no need for that to go in the bin now is there?
Ah bins. Wonderful and essential yet underappreciated. Said no-one ever. Ahem. Well, thinking about bins at home, it’s not very easy to find affordable biodegradable bin liners is it? Just think of that gross plastic sitting in smug pristineness in landfill whilst generations of gloopy stinky waste come and go around it over thousands of years. But don’t tie yourself in drawstring knots over this, because there are a few options in supermarkets and hardware stores that are open currently. Pexton’s sell Biobags and Degradable bin liners in an assortment of sizes. Bishy Weigh a few doors down also sell some kitchen bin-sized bags. And if you’re doing an online shop, then Tesco do 10L and 25L biodegradable liners, as well as some cute paper ones for your kitchen compost. Why not celebrate your new bin liners with a bin liner selfie (#itsarealthing) and tag us @OSMPdoc and @ValeofYorkCCG? Best pic gets…a coconut fibre scourer! Don't say I don't spoil you.
Anyway, hopefully the cleaners that work so hard keeping York’s GP surgeries and the vaccine hub tidy and fresh will adopt these biodegradable liners as standard. And hopefully that will put pressure on manufacturers to, well, stop making the standard plastic bags whose advancing years is rivalled only by a succession of Methusalah-esque American presidents.
Well, just as long as you don’t think this post has been a load of old garbage, but a small window into making your waste a bit more eco-friendly. Speaking of being friendly, I went through my neighbour's bins last night. I’m not nosy, just bad at parking…
(It pained me to write that by the way. My parking isn’t that rubbish at all...)