Spotting amusing number-plates can be a real source of joy on a journey when Google Maps tells you there’s a 54 minute delay and no possibility of diverting from the standstill motorway, having literally just passed the last junction for two hundred miles (sort of). But luckily I have a sleeve-full of car-journey games from travelling with kids (or indeed older curmudgeonly passengers), and 'funny number-plates' is very time-consuming, so it gets a big old thumbs up. Hands still on the wheel, obviously.
Naturally the acronyms that spring to my mind are often medical, though I usually realise too late that nobody else has a clue what I’m giggling excitedly about. Tumbleweed… Well friends, I was delighted to see BNO (bowels not open), CSF (Cerebro-Spinal Fluid) and TKR (total knee replacement). I agreed with my slightly disinterested junior editor it would be extra points for a bus, or a driver who looks like the acronym suits them (no comment re the examples above, ahem). But of course before long, we spotted a discarded plastic mask on the verge to spoil my puerile train of thought. It’s almost like they know I’m passing and show themselves in order to enrage me.
So it was music to my eco-ears yesterday, to hear about a soft plastic recycling scheme (can you contain your excitement?!) amid another week fruitlessly haranguing pharmaceutical companies to try and redesign their packaging. If they're going to be so stubborn they should at least pay for companies like Terracyle and Reworked to recycle them, instead of expecting them to simply pile up in landfill forever. Anyway, more on this topic soon as I feel the need to explore it further through the medium of song and animation, ha!
Back to the good news: Co-op now have in-store recycling boxes for soft plastics. Hold. The. Phones. And I mean all the annoying bits of flimsy plastic we usually think of as “maybe this needs to go in the bin or maybe it’ll just end up on a burning pyre in Malaysia while some tiny native children develop life-limiting horrendous respiratory disease as a consequence”. Just me? I’m talking about cheese wrappers, pasta bags, chocolate wrappers, biscuits packets, bread bags, pet food pouches, crisp packets, and the plastic film on top of vegetable and fruit trays. Hooray! Also yoghurt pot lids! Double hooray! Remember to continue to put plastic bottles (does anyone still use these, hmm?) and their lids (screwed on please), and fruit punnets and trays into your kerbside recycling if your local council allows, or undoubtedly overflowing supermarket carpark plastic recycling bins. Look, I’m sorry to say that these might still end up in the SE Asian nightmare scenario above, thanks to 2018's chocolate teapot of an environment minister Michael Gove, so if there’s any way you can buy your fruit loose at a green-grocer and take your own tupperwares and bags, pick your own, or go to a refill store, then please do. But wonderful to have an option for the soft films. Well done Co-op!
Luckily there are plenty of Co-ops that are taking part in this scheme (not all – so please search for ‘plastic film lids’ on this recycling locator). Please share this with family and friends up and down the country as a piece of promising climate news. It’s easy to get a little disheartened about the complete omnishambles unfolding around us and the lack of certainty around the next few months, plus so many people are in need of a proper break and time away, together with friends and family and that’s been or being disrupted by self-isolation or unsafe holiday destinations. And I'm not talking about space tourism (rolls eyes and clenches fists). Clearly this is terrible for the environment! But oh blast (sorry) I forgot those clouds of smoke at lift-off are in fact fairy dust, and the casings that fall away are all biodegradable and made using local labour. Ahem.
Look, recycling soft plastics may not be the Messiah you were hoping for from this week’s blog, but I've spent the last 2 years taking the plastic sleeve off my new couch roll and wondering what I could do with it instead of popping it in my bin. Sure, it's not food-related, but perhaps Co-op will take it *hopeful Bambi eyes*)? Just imagine those recycle-bin plastics being sorted, washed and melted down into shiny new pellets, and then happily reincarnated as tote bags, buckets, rake handles and car scrapers! So try and take something to a Co-op store that is participating in this recycling (see map!) and let me know how you get on, ideally with a picture of your item as you bid a fond eco-farewell. Think of it as a sort of wrapper's delight...