why bother

“We cannot solve the problems we have created with the same thinking that created them”- Albert Einstein.

Change is inevitable - exciting for some, inconvenient and even feared by others.

Thousands of starfish had washed ashore. A little girl began throwing them in the water so they wouldn't’t die. “Don’t bother dear,” her mother said, “it won’t really make any difference.” The girl stopped for a moment and looked at the starfish in her hand. “It will for this one.”

More people are becoming aware of the consequences of decades of living unsustainably, ploughing through mountains and oceans of resources and unnecessarily generating waste as part of the global rush to improve living standards. Daily we see the consequences but many of us are not sure what to do to reduce our impact.

Have you heard of the 5 ‘R's?

  1. Reduce
  2. Reuse
  3. Recover
  4. Recycle
  5. Return

The ultimate goal of the 5 ‘R’s is to reduce the amount of rubbish we send to landfill. Friendlypak targets ‘Return’, the least practised and most difficult but with the most potential.

The others however are still important…here is an example of changing the way we think:

A huge pile of drinking straws was collected on Waiheke Island by a Bar Manager over a 3 day weekend from bars and restaurants. He expressed concern and asked, via the NZ Herald ‘Side Swipe’ column, if “Any eco-friendly straw alternatives were available in NZ”

We tend not to notice something so insignificant. But he is quite right when you consider the life of a straw, Plastic made from oil on the other side of the world - using many resources in a complex process and massive plant - shipped half way round the globe - then processed again in NZ into a straw - then re packaged - transported further to a store and customer – only used once for a minute - then littered polluting our land - or collected, transported again and buried in a landfill indefinitely.

The good news: a biodegradable straw is a solution and available.

However, in the same ‘Side Swipe’ column, there was a reply the next day “You asked for eco-friendly alternatives to drinking straws … try lips”

We can reduce waste considerably by simplifying our lives! ‘Reduce’ is the first and most important of the waste reduction ethos.

Litter is also a significant problem, but even if packaging was compostable or truly biodegradable, littering may actually increase for a period as some will believe it is okay to litter biodegradable and compostable products. Either way - such litter will be far less damaging to the environment.