With all the environmental issues that is going on with our Trump administration, I want to point out a few countries that have assumed some environmental leadership. The UK, who has one of the worst reputations for littering is finally doing something about it.
First, Great Britain banned Microbeads which went into effect this year. The size of rice, microbeads are found in everything from chewing gum, clothing, cleaners, scrubs, gels and toothpaste. They are litterally (yes, new word) killing animals in waterways. No-one really knows the effects on these plastic digestives on humans, but it is safe to say plastic does not have any nutritional value for both flora and fauna.
Now the famous #LatteLevy is in place, where consumers are to pay about 34 cents for every disposable cup sold. Good for the UK, to really hit the coffee drinkers where it hurts, the wallet.
I Just Gotta Eco Ya
- 2.5 Billion Cups are thrown away every year in Britain.
- 80% of people who visit coffee shops do so at least once a week, whilst 16 per cent visit on a daily basis (British Coffee Association)
- 500,000 Million Coffee Cups are littered per day in Britain.
- 100 000 trees a year to killed per year for the UK’s coffee habit
- 0.1% of cups are recycled estimated in the UK
- 100,000 microbeads can be down the drain in one shower (Environmental Audit Committee of the House of Commons in Britain)
- 8% now for plastic bags. Since the 5 Cent charge for Britain was implemented in 2015, plastic bag use declined 80%.
- Flytippers and Litterbugs cost England 1 Billion pounds (over 1.3 Billion USA. They say that is enough to fund more than 33,000 extra nurses. (Source)
- 75 million pounds: Litter Cost in Scotland or about $10 Million USD per year
- 62% of people in England drop litter, although only 28% will admit to it (Forge Recycling 2015)
- 2,000 convictions out of 825,000 reported cases of fly-tipping in the UK (Forge Recycling)
- 7000 calls a year the RSPCA receives per year about animals that have been hurt by litter.
- 333 sacks of rubbish every day along 4,300 miles of motorways and A-roads in the country Highways England, (Source)
So who is ultimately responsible for litter.. the chicken or the egg? Yes, if companies did more to encourage recycling, rewarded those who bring their own cup, provided recyclable containers, used less packaging, they would show great environmental stewardship. But in defense of the companies, they did not take packaging and throw it on the ground. Litter is each person’s responsibility and each person’s stewardship. We as consumers cannot rely on others to keep our environment clean and blame them for litter and waste.