We are slowly, but surely, killing the world we live in – and not as indirectly as we would all like to think. Our extensive use of plastics is polluting rivers, killing wildlife and damaging the Earth, and in order to stop this, a massive change of attitude is needed.

This Christmas, more and more keen shoppers will rush to their local supermarkets and buy more and more food wrapped in that obnoxious, crinkly plastic. These wraps are over everything, from fruit to soaps and many other products. Even though the UK is plastered with adverts about ‘helping the planet’ on the internet and ridden with activist groups spreading the message about our dying world, mainstream shops still have profit in mind. I recently spotted 6 apples wrapped in plastic in a local major supermarket, costing 79p, and 6 separate loose apples costing a whopping £2.03. Admittedly, the wrapped apples were on special offer, but this only further goes to show how these shops are actively encouraging customers to buy plastic-wrapped goods – which is a disgrace!

This excessive plastic use must be stopped and one way to combat this problem is to change the way we shop. An excellent example of this is the ‘Pedrick’s Zero Waste’ shop in Caterham, only recently opened on September 21st this year. They don’t sell any plastics. At all. Along one wall they have abundant stores of loose pasta, cereal, sugar, salt, dried fruits and other everyday goods. As well as this, they stock a variety of cleaning products in bulk containers from which you can refill your own reusable container, all without the sale of any plastic items. I spoke to the founder of the shop, Abigail Pedrick, about her views on plastics and the crucial nature of shops like hers.

She is “not against plastic” herself but believes that “humans have done what they have always done and run with it” as we have used plastics for more and more things in recent years. I asked her how we can reduce the amount of plastic we use, and Abigail explained that “a change of mindset is needed” because the majority of consumers continue to buy from large supermarkets. She went on to say that the only way supermarkets will change is if they can still make a profit from selling goods not wrapped in plastic. Finally, when asked about the effectiveness of recycling, she stated that “recycling is not the answer, but instead people should buy less plastic”.

If you are still oblivious to the biblical scale by which plastic is affecting us, think of this: At Christmas, advent calendars in the UK surge into stores for people to buy. Each advent calendar contains chocolate, toys, gifts and other presents. However, they also have a small, seemingly insignificant, plastic tray inside. This plastic tray weighs approximately 30 grams. Now assume everyone in the UK (65 million people) buys an advent calendar this year. That means on this product alone, an extra 2 million tonnes of plastic will be in circulation in the UK. If I were you, I would just buy some chocolate!

This change in local communities has raised more awareness about this pivotal topic, and hopefully when other communities do the same, there will be colossal change in world attitude. This may be what it takes to heal our wounded planet.

Written by Alex Topliss