We have a problem. Over recent decades we, in the developed world have had an eye on environmental concerns, focusing on the likes of greenhouse gas production and sustainable forestry whilst, at the same time, enjoying an exponential rise in the use of plastic.
I can remember being impressed with my first plastic pop bottle. No longer would my mother have to lug heavy, breakable glass bottles from the shops and this ultimately led to bigger bottles. Fast forward forty years or so and the number of plastic bottles and other plastic ‘disposables’ being produced every day is staggering. It is estimated that a million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute; most are single use and less than half of these are recycled.
The problem, of course, is not limited to bottles. Next time you’re in a supermarket, ponder on, for example, the quantity of packaging utilised in the bacon, ham and pork aisles. I don’t think I’m too far wrong suggesting that we produce more plastic per pig, than pig! Whilst the pig is biodegradable, the plastic is not. Hypocritically, the same supermarkets often claim to be striving for sustainability by printing their till receipts on recycled paper!
With significant advances in solar and battery technologies I believe that humanity is very close to solving our clean energy demands but I fear that without prompt action, we’re going to find ourselves buried in waste plastic and this is already finding its way into our food supply.
Technology-based solutions for processing the waste efficiently and cleanly may be around the corner and could represent significant opportunities that ultimately, might be represented in our Changing World Portfolio. However, until there is a viable solution, we at Lowes will be aiming to reduce our plastic footprint and that is why our most recent issue, and all future issues of the Lowes Magazine will be delivered in a recyclable, biodegradable, paper envelope, rather than the cheaper, polythene bag alternative.
In addition, we are supporting some relevant charities that help raise awareness of the issue and are promoting measures to reduce and eventually eliminate, single use plastics from our premises. We accept that this will only have a very small impact on the problem but we recognise that everyone making a small impact can lead to a big one.