Be a responsible consumer - Importing mountains of waste

The all-conquering, all-seeing internet has changed our world beyond imagining; there is hardly an aspect of life that has not been changed. 

Great, positive change has been shadowed by negative intrusions. Elections have been skewed, online bullies have found a new way to persecute, data management has made us all more susceptible than we ever imagined. Local businesses struggle to survive the impact that faceless, online giants can have.

As our great winter festival — formerly a religious celebration, now a consumer free-for-all — approaches online shopping moves towards its annual highwater mark. One of its consequences is, according to Repak, that we generate more than 10,000 tonnes of packaging waste via online shopping every year, up from 7,500 tonnes in 2017. 

This year, consumers will spend around €2bn on online cross-border consumer goods. Cardboard is the principal packaging material at 75%; plastic makes up 16%. Each of these purchases is a personal choice, just as each in-store Christmas purchase is, just as every wretched and unnecessary plastic water bottle, just as every unrecyclable coffee cup is.

Government’s efforts to avert climate change are pathetically slow, ineffective and dangerously irresponsible. There is no reason our individual responses should be as feeble. It’s time to make consumer choices that reduce waste rather than ones that exacerbate this growing crisis.

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