Plastic Addict

How do you get people to change?

By Susan Ronaldson on October 8, 2017

It’s a conundrum that faces me everyday in my professional life as a Change Director and one which is at the heart our mission as Status Row.

Image of Suze's Plastic Addiction

Most of us don’t like doing things differently, and especially where different seems more difficult. As a busy person who lives on her own and is a terrible cook, I’ve relied heavily on convenience. In doing so I’ve consumed mountains of plastic which is used just once. But that’s ok because I’m strict in recycling everything- right? Unfortunately not.

Recycling is better than not of course. But it uses up huge amounts of energy to produce, transport then recycle… and plastic isn’t like metal- it can’t be used again and again. It will quickly end up as products that can’t be recycled. So refuse, reduce and reuse need to come before recycle.

So back to that question of people changing. For me a lot is about giving people the opportunity to make informed choices. We used to accept plastic bags without a second thought because they were given automatically. Now simply being asked if you want one for 5p has dramatically cut consumption. If you know that you use it for 10 mins but it will last for 500 years, do you really still need that small straw in your G&T? Is it really a hassle to use a refillable water bottle, when you know that the plastic problem is so great, it’s starting to get into the water you’re drinking?

At the beginning of our journey I recorded a day in the life of my plastic habit. It’s quite shocking. Just like rowing the Atlantic, I’m starting with small actions- refuse, reduce, reuse- if you join me, together we can go a long way.

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