Wild at Home: nat­u­ral his­tory TV, books, puz­zles and more

Find out what more can be done to re­duce plas­tic waste.

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Contents - Catherine Smal­ley


Ev­ery minute of ev­ery day, the equiv­a­lent of a rub­bish truck full of plas­tic is emp­tied into the world’s oceans. To drive this mes­sage home, this three-part se­ries be­gins with Hugh Fearn­ley-Whit­tingstall over­see­ing truck af­ter truck tip­ping their con­tents over the prom­e­nade of a Bri­tish sea­side re­sort. It’s a stunt, of course, but the shock­ing truth of the sheer quan­tity of plas­tic waste we cre­ate hits hard.

‘But I re­cy­cle’, you might say. Well, Hugh and co-pre­sen­ter Anita Rani swiftly shat­ter any il­lu­sions we might have about that. A trip to Malaysia re­veals where much of it re­ally goes – il­le­gal dump­sites. “It looks like an­other planet – a plas­tic planet,” says Hugh in the show. “These moun­tains of bro­ken bales and mixed plas­tics are clearly never go­ing to be re­cy­cled.”

Thank­fully, how­ever, the pro­gramme doesn’t leave us feel­ing dis­em­pow­ered. It digs deep to find out why we are so hooked on plas­tic and – most im­por­tantly – how we can dis­en­tan­gle our­selves. An en­tire street in Bris­tol is set with the chal­lenge of re­duc­ing the sin­gle-use plas­tic in their homes, and the dif­fi­cul­ties they, and there­fore we all, face are un­picked one by one.

The lead­ing UK su­per­mar­kets, which pro­duce over one-third of our plas­tic pack­ag­ing, have a lot to an­swer for. “The more I look into this, the more I am ut­terly con­vinced that it should be the su­per­mar­kets lead­ing the change,” Anita says, fol­low­ing a meet­ing at Tesco’s head­quar­ters. Nonethe­less, watch­ing ordinary peo­ple tak­ing small steps to bat­tle these jug­ger­nauts and waste less, it left me feel­ing gen­uinely in­spired to stop mak­ing ex­cuses and do more.

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