Our world has a rubbish problem and the rapid growth of single-use plastic is making the crisis worse. In the UK, we throw away four double-decker busloads’ worth of plastic every minute! More than half of all plastic produced is only used once, and the plastic industry is the fastest-growing source of industrial greenhouse gas emissions in the world.
All this plastic is fuelling our throwaway culture, accelerating the climate crisis and impacting people living in poverty the most. But we can take action. By changing our habits we can reduce our own waste and tackle this rubbish problem. We spoke to four Tearfund supporters who are doing just that…
Hannah, Christine, Siân and Phoebe – all students based in the UK – share how they are reducing their use of plastic and how the Bible has inspired them to keep going.
Why did you decide to use less plastic?
It can be very easy to blame big companies for climate change and feel like there is nothing we can do as individuals to help the environment and the people affected. But I believe that God calls all of us to try and make a difference, and that starts with changing your lifestyle. Reducing plastic was one of the first changes I made because there are things you can do differently straightaway in your everyday life.
Caring for the environment was something I learnt about and have been interested in since primary school. I’ve come to realise the effect that climate change is having on our planet and how urgently we need to act to slow this down. Although I know I cannot individually stop climate change, I want to use the little say I have as a consumer by making changes and hopefully encouraging the larger corporations to do the same.
I’ve been really motivated by the issue of climate change to become more plastic-free. The images of plastic-polluted rivers and oceans and of piles of plastic in people’s towns and villages across the world have really motivated me too. I want to look after God’s earth and the animals and people that live in it; I feel it’s my duty as a citizen of the earth and as a Christian.
I grew up by the coast and always saw plastic on the beaches but it was so normal I didn’t think about how bizarre it really was. The profile of plastic pollution increased when I was in school, raising my awareness of the issue. I remember watching one of the BBC Blue Planet episodes and crying at the effects plastic was having on the environment. Reducing my plastic waste was a practical and fairly simple step I could take in response.