Now that the COVID-19 lockdown has eased and we’re finally able to enjoy the socially-distanced company of our family and friends, garden parties, barbecues and beach picnics are the perfect way to safely spend time together in the sunshine.
But our new-found freedom is already starting to spell bad news for the planet.
If you’ve been watching the news recently, you’ve probably seen reports about the thousands of people who have descended on the UK’s gorgeous beaches and beauty spots. We’re not going to get into the discussion of how unsafe that could be, given that it’s practically impossible to social distance when people are crowded together in such huge numbers, but we do want to briefly talk about the devastation that’s left behind after they leave.
In Bournemouth alone, careless beachgoers dumped forty-one tonnes of rubbish on the coastline over two days at the end of June. The majority of those items included plastic cups and bottles, takeaway boxes, plastic plates and utensils, glass bottles, polystyrene cups and drink cans. That isn’t just thoughtless; it’s incredibly harmful to the environment.
Unfortunately, the same thing is happening in hundreds of other locations up and down the country. Great Yarmouth, a popular resort town on the east coast that is very close to where Earth Restored is based, was inundated with an immense amount of rubbish during the same weekend. Because cafes and restaurants were only open for takeaways, much of the litter was polystyrene cups and burger cartons, plastic bottles and cans. The area normally attracts a lot of wildlife, including a large seal population, and environmentally conscious volunteers have already reported “a record year for injuries to the marine mammals” because of littering.
As a spokesperson for the local council said, “The sheer amount of rubbish we’re getting is colossal. A year ago, people were much more conscientious about the plastics in the ocean. It seems like we’ve come out of the pandemic and people have forgotten about it.”1
It isn’t just beaches that have been affected. Unprecedented amounts of littering have also impacted parks, woodlands and other green spaces, and discarded plastic products are nearly always at the top of the list.
Isn’t it ironic that, when the lockdown was at full force, our cities were slowly becoming free of pollution, carbon emissions were reducing, and seas, oceans, rivers and waterways around the world were growing cleaner and clearer?
Don’t believe the hype: plastic isn’t safer
In May last year, the European Council adopted new legislation to ban the use of single-use plastic products in all its Member States. That could include single-use plastic cups, cutlery, plates, straws, and even food and beverage containers made of polystyrene. The Council gave their Member States two years to make this new legislation part of their national law, and it was originally planned to come into force in the UK in April.
But the coronavirus outbreak caused such a panic that the ban has now been delayed until October.
Before the delay was announced, the UK plastics sector and the European Plastic Converters trade association had already lobbied the government, and the European Council, to postpone the ban because “plastic products are providing basic precautions in the fight against coronavirus.” However, Government Ministers have denied that’s the reason the ban has been delayed. They claim they made the decision because they didn’t want to give additional burden to businesses that had already been impacted by the pandemic.
Even so, the incorrect belief that using single-use plastic plates, utensils, and packaging was a safer and healthier way to consume food during COVID-19 quickly took hold. In April, the UK’s Foodservice Packaging Association reported that single-use cups and wrapped single-use cutlery were “in huge demand.” They also put pressure on the Welsh government to delay its single-use plastic ban, warning that not doing so would compromise hygiene.
In May, the global market for packaging was expected to grow by almost 6% due to the pandemic. Plastic is a major part of that growth spurt.
The British Plastics Federation also reported a record spike in demand for food and drink, bleach, soap and medicine packaging.
High-street chains like Starbucks, Caffe Nero and Pret a Manger are no longer accepting reusable cups because of COVID-19 safety fears. Many UK pubs are serving beverages only in plastic cups and supplying individually wrapped cutlery and condiments.
That’s completely unnecessary and short-sighted. One hundred and nineteen scientists from 18 countries have said reusable containers do not increase the chance of virus transmission. The British Retail Consortium has also said there is “minimal evidence of any risks from reusable cups.”
Plastic food packaging, cups, cutlery, and tableware aren’t safer. In fact, they’re more dangerous, because single-use plastic is massively harming our environment.
Here’s one more thing to think about. This movement towards using more plastic is happening overseas, too. The use of plastic in the US has risen by 250-300% during the pandemic.
Join us, and be the difference
Please don’t believe the plastic hype.
Thanks to initiatives like the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the world is finally starting to tackle climate change. We can’t let COVID-19 be the reason that we’ll lose ground in the environmental battle against single-use plastic.
As UNEP says, ‘A healthy planet depends on all of us.’ If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we all have a responsibility to look after our wellbeing and the wellbeing of our planet.
One of the most effective ways you can do that is by choosing tableware, cutlery and food packaging that is sustainable, recyclable, biodegradable, and ethically sourced.
Those are precisely the kind of products we make here, at Earth Restored.
Our products are produced from sustainable, vegetable raw materials. They don’t contain any plastic, chemicals, glues or resins. They are just as hygienically safe as their plastic counterparts, and they can hold hot foods and liquids with ease. We all know the feeling of making our way around a buffet table while the disposable plate we’re holding starts to feel more and more precarious in our hand, or when the food we’re enjoying slowly makes the plate in our lap warped and soggy. That won’t happen when you choose our tableware. Earth Restored is the perfect choice for everything from garden barbecues and picnics on the beach to parties and more formal social events (whenever they’ll be allowed to happen again!) Also, unlike boring plastic tableware, our products have the natural grain and colour of the plant leaves they’re made from so they look terrific too.
And don’t forget the most important part. Because they’re sustainable, compostable, biodegradable, reusable, and 100% carbon neutral, Earth Restored products are fantastic for the planet. So if you, like us, want to help stop plastic pollution, reduce food waste, and fight climate change, Earth Restored products are one of the very best choices you could make.
Think how good you’ll feel the next time you’re feeding your family and friends, knowing that you’re keeping everybody healthy and safe with our stylish and versatile knives, forks, and plates while you’re keeping our amazing planet healthy too. Alternatively, if you’re a food retailer or caterer, think what a positive and ethically conscious message you’ll be sending when you give your customers their food in our good-looking, environmentally friendly packaging.
You can quickly and easily order all our products via our website. If you’ve got a question, or you’d like to find out more about what we do, please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 020 3983 5655 or email email@example.com. We’d love to hear from you and we’re always here to help.
Stay safe, enjoy the sunshine, and always remember that when we go to the beach or a beautiful open space, our footsteps are the only things we should ever leave behind.