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Teenagers and plastics

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

Blog by one of Sustainable Merton's Young Community Champions

What plastics do teenagers use most?

As a 15-year-old, growing up, I am beginning to buy more and more products, mainly because I want or need more things. But most of these things I now realise I did not need. For most of these items, I only used them once or twice then they sat around for the rest of the time gathering dust. For example, I used to watch professional gamers, and study how they play, from their fingertips to their minds to try and perfect my technique to match theirs. I thought that my hands were too weak for me to have good enough reflexes, so I bought some elastic hand straighteners off eBay for £3. As you can expect, most of these extremely cheap, low-quality items come from far abroad, and these came all the way from China, by plane. Air transport is the worst form of transport for the environment because of the sheer amount of emissions. I first thought “Not my problem, there’s nothing I can do…” But just not buying these things is the biggest help you can give! I have done this so many times from G-fuel to, far away products flown here.

More about plastic now. A more local thing that we are all guilty for is Food. Often when I go out with friends or just on my own, I will buy a meal from a fast-food restaurant or a can of fizzy drink from a corner shop, because they taste nice and they are cheap. Fair enough, I agree that KFC tastes good. And it’s not the food that is the problem, it is the stuff it is wrapped it in or the cup you drink out of. Most fast-food restaurants I go to are very good with their food wrapping, from Five guys tinfoil wrapped burgers to Nando’s cardboard pots. Perfect, couldn’t ask for more, sometimes there is the odd plastic spoon or corn on the cob wrapping that’s plastic but just don’t order those. Drinks are the main problem, I think every lid for every takeaway drink I have ever bought has been plastic, the straws used to be plastic too but thankfully a law was passed this year banning plastic straws.

I usually go to newsagents, off-licenses, and post offices to buy some sugary treats every now and then. I’m sure a lot of other people do too, but not everyone puts their rubbish in the recycling, most of the time it goes in the landfill or even sometimes I see it on the floor or in rivers etc. It really doesn’t take much to just toss your rubbish into a different section of the bin. You really don’t look cool dropping it on the street, like you don’t care about the rules, there are no rules, but any human being would have at least some natural instinct to protect the natural environment in which they live in and the natural world from with they came from. We don’t talk much about this issue, because not many of us are interested, we should change that.

Want to do more to fight plastic pollution?

Be part of our #WasteWarriors Weekends - Sustainable Merton's monthly litter pick for residents of all ages to do their bit to help keep our parks and streets clean and plastic-free.


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