Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Buy it Naked!

A slightly ambiguous and tongue-in-cheek title for a very serious campaign to reduce packaging.
This morning's first debate was on Action to Tackle Excess Packaging, something which has also been highlighted in the past few months by the newspaper which drops through our letter box most mornings (delivered by the most charming and polite young man anyone could wish to meet - daily proof that not all young people are rude, thoughtless and badly behaved.) One of the most telling facts produced in the whole debate is that packaging accounts for around 17% of the average household food budget. That's an awful lot of cardboard, plastic and paper. I know that some of it is necessary to protect the goods from damage, but a huge amount isn't. We heard one person describe how he spent considerable time at work designing a toothpaste tube which doesn't need to be in a cardboard box. Every other country in Europe sells it without its box but in the UK it still goes into a cardboard box. Why??
I always have fabric bags in the boot of the car so that I can use them when I shop, ever since I got my first one in a German supermarket years ago. I try to pop one into the bottom of my handbag too so that I'm never without. If everyone did that we'd not need any plastic carrier bags - just think how much oil that would save as well as the rubbish not going to landfill or incineration.
Quote of the day came in the debate on the governance of the UK: From a speech by Pericles of Athens in 431/430BC "Our form of government does not imitate the laws of neighbouring states. On the contrary, we are rather a model to others. Our form of government is called a democracy because its administration is in the hands, not of a few, but of the whole people."
Long may that continue to be true of this country, though I fear that the present government is working hard to change it.
After a morning of debate it was time to head off to a nearby hotel for a training session but I couldn't resist a detour down to the beach. The wind was so strong it was difficult to walk upright and the sea was lashing the beach and the remains of the old pier.

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