The ‘Attenborough Effect’

What changes are you making at home and at work to protect the planet?

Ocean filled with plastic

Over the last couple of years, I have been making adjustments to my daily routines and the products I consume in order to be more environmentally friendly.

First to arrive was the reusable water bottle and coffee KeepCup, next came the shampoo bar, soap and bamboo toothbrush. And while my bathroom may now be plastic free, there are certainly still plenty of areas that I can improve on.

Many of the changes that I have made coincided with the airing of Blue Planet II. With the first episode watched by an estimated 14.1 million people, I’m sure that I am not the only one to have become more aware of what I am consuming and how I dispose of it.

It can of course be a lot easier to make environmentally friendly changes in your own life – you are the master of your own destiny after all. But in the workplace, it can be more difficult. How many times do you delve into the recycling bin to remove the fruit peel or wash the ‘empty’ takeaway soup container out? Or, indeed, when is the right time to raise the introduction of recycling and food waste bins with employers if they are not readily available?

However, businesses large and small are shifting their approach. While water refill stations are popping up at a number of airports and mainline stations in and outside of the capital, who also doesn’t like a cheeky 50p off your morning coffee as an incentive to reach for your reusable cup in the morning?

Optics also began to wage the war against plastic earlier this year, with Johnson & Johnson Vision launching a free nationwide recycling programme in all Boots Opticians and selected independent practices. This week, Black & Lizars practices in Scotland became the latest to sign up to the scheme and offer their patients a contact lens recycling point in practice.

“We know that people want to be more environmentally conscious, but there is still a lot to be done to properly educate people on the simple steps they can take. We’re helping customers to make a difference,” the group’s clinical services manager, Graham Freeman shared.

This week I also spoke to the optometrist and director of a group of four practices in Wales that is currently having all of its practices fitted with solar panels. It is a move that the practitioner acknowledged came with an initial financial outlay, but it was one that he felt the business should make in order to best prepare for the future. “We have to invest now so that we can enjoy the benefits of a sustainable future,” he told OT.

Finally, don’t forget that the wrapping OT is delivered in every month became fully compostable when we switched to a potato starch wrapper last year. Once you have unwrapped your monthly must read, you can take the wrapping and:

  • Dispose of it on your home compost heap;
  • Throw it in your garden bin; or
  • Pop it in your food waste bin.

(But remember, don’t put it in your recycling bin). 

Image credit: Getty/urfinguss