Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The Green Summer Bash

Exams were over and the time for chilling out began! It’s summer 2010!

But while many a student was victoriously celebrating the end of another scholastic year in some loud, crowded and smoky discotheque, Greenhousers set off for Buskett.

Together with That’s Rubbish- a group of volunteers who organize clean-ups usually at the Ghajn Tuffieha beach- Greenhouse decided to clean up an area of Buskett to start off their summer season.

After obtaining the necessary permits from a government department, a police station and MEPA a group of around 15 people gathered on a sunny Sunday afternoon equipped with garbage bags, gloves and water bottles.

The area which was to be cleaned was filled with all sorts of stuff. We carefully put all recyclable material in grey bags while the rest was disposed of in the black garbage bags. Volunteers scrambled all over the place with protective gloves on to clean the place of glass bottles, packaging waste, shotgun shells, beer cans and a plethora of other stuff that was thrown away by some people who thought the ground would swallow up the waste they would throw at it.

Thirty three full bags were collected!

After the cleanup, sweaty but satisfied, Greenhouse organized a relaxing couple of hours. With salads and water to replenish the drained volunteers and acoustic music to up the spirits of those around, people gathered and chatted the night away. When night time came, we packed up everything careful not to leave any waste behind.

And so ended a very fruitful afternoon- happy with our taking away over thirty bags of rubbish from Buskett and relieved that summer is with us and we can all enjoy the company of our friends in good spirits.

As I was picking up the various waste from the ground, I realized that the commonest waste was packaging waste. Everything from wrappers, water bottles and food packages were fluttering all over the place. So I thought I can share with you some suggestions as to how you can reduce packaging waste. Remember, everything you buy from a supermarket is packaged in some sort of material which is only used for a brief period of time and solely for transporting the product from one place to another. It is immediately thrown away as waste once you take what’s inside. So we can spare an extra thought before buying something and choose those things which have little packaging or, at least, avoid those products which are uselessly packaged in excess material.

These are some hints that would be good to keep in mind:

  • Buy in bulk. It’s better if you buy a packet of 500g, for example, rather than two of 250g. This also applies for bottled liquids.

  • Carry your own bags while shopping.

  • Try to buy loose products were available. This applies for fruits and vegetables and things you can buy over the counter rather than those which are pre-packaged.

  • Try to avoid products which have various layers of packaging. For example, try to opt for cereals which have only one outer layer of packaging rather than those having a plastic bag placed inside a cardboard box. Sponges which are individually wrapped in a plastic bag and then placed in a cardboard box together with numerous other sponges use an exaggerated amount of packaging.
  • Choose packaging that is made from recycled material, and preferably, is recyclable.

  • Choose paperboard boxes instead of plastic bags.

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