Reducing Plastic Waste

There has been a lot in the media recently about our use of plastics and how they either stay in landfill sites for all eternity or get thrown in to the oceans, doing harm to any creature going near them. It’s a sorry state of affairs. I would like to do my bit in order to try and halt the spread of plastic waste, in fact I reckon I could reduce it by a significant percentage quite quickly. Unlike the Government’s approach, my method doesn’t involve declaring a ‘war’ on it, employing a highly paid plastic waste ‘tsar’ or slapping some stupid tax on it. No. All we’d have to do is ban the packaging that comes with a man’s shirt. Have you seen the crap that comes with a shirt these days? Getting it out of the bag and in to a state where you can try it on is like an MI5 entrance exam.

What’s that you say? ‘Why don’t you buy your shirts off the peg in a shop?’. Well, I’d love to but I’m a fat sod and 99% of stores don’t cater for people like myself. The 1% of shops who do stock sizes above 2XL, apply prices to such garments which suggest that in order to furnish the extra few inches of cotton required to wrap my obese frame in reasonable comfort, they have had to employ extra staff and make payoffs to get exclusive access rights to the cotton output of most of Asia.

Some other stores seem to have a very odd policy when it comes to large clothing. In Sainsbury’s for example, they don’t sell trousers or combats in a size to fit me. However, they do stock suitable trouser belts. Why do they do that?! Perhaps I should try and get them to change their sizing policy by hanging around the Clothing section wearing just the belt. As a supermarket I feel that they are obliged to stock sensibly priced large sized clothing, seeing as it’s the stuff people are buying from their shops that’s making them put on weight in the first place.

So, these days I have no option but to order clothes online and that’s when the packaging just gets plain daft. I bought some shirts in the January Sales recently and the amount of waste it generated was ridiculous. Taking a single shirt, the first thing you have is the plastic bag it arrives in. Fair enough with that one but I’m not fussed frankly, paper would do. Once the shirt is out of said bag, that’s when the fun begins. First there was the crap they put in the collar, which consisted of a strip of card under the collar to keep it stiff, an inner ring of clear plastic stripping to keep the collar in shape and some annoying bow-shaped bit of plastic affixed to the top button – I have no idea what that is even for.

With those removed, there were then two plastic clips to remove from both sides of the shirt. With these out of the way I could then unfurl the shirt to reveal a third plastic clip which was holding the arms to the back of it. Stuffed between the folded arms and the back of the shirt was an A4 piece of card and a sheet of tissue paper – what’s that all about? At that point I thought I was done but nooooo. I still had to remove the maker’s label which had been secured to the next-to-top button using ribbon and by someone who must study 18th century maritime knotting techniques as a hobby. Even then, after all that, the packaging wasn’t finished with me. Something else in the bag must have been poorly secured with another plastic clip which had dropped unseen on to my bedroom carpet. I found that at 3am when I trod on the damned thing.

Dear retailer, I know roughly what the shirt looks like so I don’t need it presented to me like a crime exhibit. The shirt is going to get washed and ironed anyway so there really is no point in pegging it all together with various designs of plastic clips and then shoving it full of card and tissue paper –  simply fold it up in a neat-ish fashion and put it in a bag I can re-use; even if it’s just to send it back to you. There we go, a huge amount of nonsense packaging eradicated in one go and no danger of treading on sharp bits of plastic when you get up in the early hours for a tinkle. Sorted.