We shared the shocking reality of the problem we face - where every minute the equivalent of a truck full of plastic is emptied into the world’s oceans - and how we can all play our part in solving it. The response and support behind our #OurPlasticFeedback initiative has been overwhelming, and it’s given us a huge boost as we start filming the follow up programme that will be coming your way next Spring.
Meanwhile it’s brilliant to see how many of you are determined to find ways to live more sustainable, less wasteful lives. Inspired by your efforts, Anita and I will continue to push our big plastic-using businesses, and our politicians, to step up to the challenge of reducing plastics and using them more responsibly, and making it much easier for us all to do the right thing.
Of course, there is always more to be done. Committing to and maintaining change is hard, particularly as we head towards Christmas. This is the season of feasting, gift giving and goodwill. It is also the season of excessive eating, unecessary packaging and, dare I say it presents we may not actually want or need! At this time of year our preoccupation with saving time and keeping a tight rein on our finances, while still revelling in tradition is a tricky balancing act to pull off. It would be easy to let things slide. One rather grim seasonal “tradition” is that we are usually producing an additional 30% of rubbish over the Christmas period. That equates to about 3 million tonnes. Now is not the time to sit back and take a break from our War on Waste, we need to continue our vigilance and encourage family, friends and colleagues to do the same. The best possible way is to make saving waste and reducing plastic part of the Christmas feel good factor.
With that in mind my team at River Cottage will be sharing their tips and thoughts on enjoying a largely plastic-free Christmas in the run up to the holiday. With sustainability and provenance at our core, at River Cottage we embrace the festivities with a natural, hand-crafted and homemade spirit. This is never more evident than at our rip-roaring staff Christmas party every year. Our barn is decked out in foraged foliage and handmade decorations and we toast the season with cocktails of wild, steeped and home-brewed ingredients. There is a feast before the dancing with our own and locally sourced seasonal, organic produce. There are no disposable plates, glasses or cutlery, and we banished straws and crackers years ago. I don’t think anyone’s missing them. Any leftovers are taken home in containers that our guests have brought with them.
One highlight of the evening is a raucous Secret Santa session. Gifts are homemade or second hand and wrapped, if at all, in reused paper. The team are ever more inventive and thoughtful each year (though home-made hedgerow booze is always guaranteed to get a look in – with no complaints!). Hopefully everyone’s having too good a time to even think about plastic.
We would love to hear how you get on this Christmas so please continue to share your plastic free journey on social media using #WarOnPlastic
Written by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall