When I was a child in the sixties, milk arrived in bottles straight onto the doorstep. The milkman collected those bottles each day and they were recycled. This was long before recycling became fashionable. We used to reuse lots of things. Wool, curtains, fabric from clothes and buttons. Collars were turned on shirts, socks darned - I could go on. Furniture was painted, chairs recovered and fixed. Nothing went to waste. Clothes were handed down through families and then passed on down the street to somebody else. Plastic was a new material for modern furniture and picnic plates.
In France plastic carrier bags were banned over 15 years ago. If you shop in the supermarket you need to buy or reuse a large Eco bag. If you forget to take them, you have to buy more, or put your groceries into the car and bag them up when you get home. I was always forgetting my Eco bags at first. Now they live happily in the boot of my car for when they are needed, and this is the best bit - when you shop at any other shop you get a beautiful cardboard carrier bag with the shop's name on it. If it's a gift, bows and brightly coloured trailing ribbons tinker over the edge of the beautifully wrapped parcel. What a treat!!!
In the UK you have to shove your shopping into your handbag/shopping bag, or carry your purchases out like a shop lifter, grinning confidently at the CCTV cameras as you pass. Your new crisp white shirt is sitting next to your overripe nectarines from Sainsbury's!!! The shop then charges you 5p for each plastic bag you use and informs you that the money will be going to a charity of their choice! We are encouraged to have petrol cars, electric cars, electric trains, use less hairspray, recycle the HUGE amount of packaging the supermarkets impose on us on a daily basis. Yet plastic carrier bags and bottles are everywhere. Even France sells milk in plastic containers.
But where does all the recycling go? How does the plastic end up in the sea? Are they really recycling the plastic? Are they washing out the bottles and reusing them for milk or are they being turned into something more useful? We don't really know what happens to our recycling or do we?
In France in the depth of the Limousin is the most amazing place called Peyrat le Chateau. History steeps back to the days of Richard the Lionheart. On the 14th of July, Bastille day, the village has the most spectacular fireworks display I have ever seen. I asked the Mayor (Maire) one day where the money came from to pay for it and he informed me that it was paid for by local recycling. The display was a way to pay back the people for all of their hard work. In our village the amount received for recycling shows up on our annual village accounts and is reused locally.
Please please please will somebody of extreme importance stop the use of plastic carrier bags and bottles. It's not very Eco you know!!!!!
What do you think?
Next time a much lighter subject. Shopping - French style!!!
I'm just a Welsh girl living in France- with an uncontrollable writing habit!!!!!
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