XR Farnham plastics working group suggestions… things you can do


Easy and can do now:

  1. Buy things that don’t have single use plastic – loose fruit & veg, etc
  2. Grow your own fruit & veg
  3. Take a drinks cup out with you or even the drink as well. Don’t use straws, spoons, stirrers and napkins unless you need to
  4. Reuse and repair things you have rather than buying new
  5. Share things with people that you don’t use often (e.g. breadmaker, lawnmower, books, videos) so you don’t need to buy things and therefore use less packaging
  6. Complain to companies about the amount of packaging, why it is poorly marked and how you can return it to the retailer
  7. Use specialist recycling services like Terracycle and buy their products made from recycled packaging waste (but it’s not cheap)
  8. Write to retailers, MPs, local councillors about plastic waste. Complain to councils about litter and poor waste collection and recycling rates
  9. Join the XR Farnham Plastics group on Facebook

Easy but can do after lockdown:

  1. Take packaging back to the retailer or leave it at the till
  2. Take polythene to most major retail stores that are collecting it (it still generally goes to landfill or incineration but is shows retailers that consumers want to reduce plastic)
  3. Change your retailer depending on their plans to reduce single use plastic
  4. Challenge businesses at shareholder meetings (you need to be a shareholder)
  5. Protest when demonstrations are arranged against retailers, manufacturers, oil/plastic businesses

Hard to do but will be needed to fix the problem:

  1. Write to your MPs and other leaders
  2. Join groups that are working towards and campaigning for a circular economy/loop logistics
  3. Demand higher taxation on virgin plastic. (£200/tonne from 2022 on plastic with less than 30% recycled content is not enough)


The only way to tackle single use plastic is a logistics system that uses returnable or reusable packaging across manufacturers, retailers, logistics and waste collection/recycling businesses. Since the current single use plastic system can’t coexist with closed loop packaging the change will be very expensive and requires the whole supply chain to change at once. Companies like Unilever have high speed manufacturing lines that need long runs and can’t be efficient if they effectively need two factories for the same product. That’s why the cost of virgin plastic and the cost of processing plastic waste needs to be high, to provide the business case for the industry to make the switch.

Obviously this won’t address the immediate plastics problem in developing countries but if manufacturers switch in developed countries, they will switch in developing countries as well.

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