Take action

"We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a person changes their own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards them. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do."
– Mahatma Gandhi

Taking responsibility and setting a good example can be amazingly positive. This guide is modelled on the 7 Rs of sustainability.

1. Rethink

What plastic do you use? Do you need it? Are there alternatives?

2. Refuse

Refuse to buy products wrapped in and made from plastic.

    Support considerate businesses and products
  • Contact businesses to ask them if they will reduce their plastic use.
  • Boycott businesses who are unwilling to alter their plastic use.
  • Give companies their plastic back, as we did at Sainsbury's.

3. Reduce

Reduce packaging and products through a variety of means.

    Reduce packaging
  • Support the Refill scheme to reduce plastic water bottles.
  • Wiltshire Wildlife Trust's Real Nappy Network aims to help reduce the 8 million nappies that are thrown away each day. The scheme is good for the environment and good financially, with estimated savings of up to £500 per child.
  • Make your own products. There are a huge number of resources available on the internet.
  • Grow your own food. It requires no packaging. Fresh, local, organic food is beneficial in a great many respects. See the links section for related local groups.
  • Buy wholefoods. It often costs less and is healthier than processed foods.
    Buy good quality products designed to last.
  • Disreputable companies use built-in / planned obsolescence to reduce the lifespan of products and increase profits. Research companies and products well.
  • 'Programmed obsolescence is one of the malicious functionalities that may be designed into proprietary software. Computer technology inevitably has an environmental impact, but proprietary software makes it worse because it is often designed to lead or pressure users to discard devices sooner because support for them has ceased, or to discard defective hardware which could have been made repairable.'- The Free Software Foundation
  • Join or start a toy library. They can reduce our carbon footprints in many ways including a reduction in plastic. A toy libarary recently started in Wootton Bassett. They used to be more common; there used to be one at Eastcott Community Centre, for example.
  • Why buy when you can borrow? Introducing the Library of Things.
  • Lend to or borrow from a friend, family member, neighbour...

4. Repair

Many items can be repaired with a bit of tlc and know-how.

  • Repair Cafes have sprung up around the world in the last few years. Items are repaired for free with demonstrations so that people learn and pass on new skills. Swindon is blessed with a Repair Cafe and Free Shop, a very popular community event with local live music, food and a good atmosphere. Interestingly, the free shop in Swindon came about, in part, because of Food Not Bombs.
  • There are local craft groups to learn and hone skills such as Swindon Men's Shed, Knit and Natter and Swindon Big Knit.
  • Swindon Makerspace has excellent facilities to repair all kinds of items.
  • There are vast amount of online guides to repairing all kinds of items.

5. Reuse

Second hand, upcycling, art, imagination...

  • Join a local art group who reuse materials such as Artsite or Ipsum.
  • Make ecobricks, building blocks made from reused plastic-filled bottles.
  • There are a huge amount of online resources for upcycling all kinds of items. Pinterest, for example.

6. Recycle

Plastic recycling is not the solution to plastic pollution, merely slowing the rate. Only a couple of plastics are recycled in Swindon, HDPE and PET. We need to do much better. If you're in any doubt about that, read our article on it.

7. Rubbish!

As the name suggests. Natural materials break down, harmonising with nature. Plastics persist in the environment and in organisms. There is no good way to deal with it. The way we end plastic pollution is by not creating plastic in the first place... back to action 1!

8. Represent

Fertilise change by encouraging others. Spread the word with friends, family, neighbours... Contact organisations, representatives and businesses.