Why our 'throw away culture' needs to change urgently
PUBLISHED: 19:00 03 September 2019
Biodegradable carrier bags which have failed to break down after a decade and crisp packets that date back to the early 70s have been found lurking in undergrowth in Ipswich - a stark reminder of the legacy our generation are leaving behind.
Environmentalist and volunteer litter picker Jason Alexander found packet of ready salted Golden Wonder crisps, which can be dated back to 1972 thanks to competition details still legible on the back of the packet, near to Foxhall Stadium.
Mr Alexander, who created Rubbish Walks, which highlights the issues of litter and single use plastics, said: "It enforces the urgency of the situation. "We live in a throw away culture. We cannot continue like that."
Mr Alexander also recently found a packet of Walker's salt and vinegar crisps which can be dated back to 1992 as well as a can of Yorkshire bitter which expired in February 1989.
His latest finds are sadly nothing new.
"I now have crisp packets from the 70s, 80s, 90s and up to today," said Mr Alexander.
He also has drinks cans from the 80s and 90s and a large amount of lids from Smarties packets which date back as far as the 1970s.
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One plastic bag he found in Dunwich celebrated Marks & Spencer's centenary year, which took place in 1984.
"I have found other bags that say they are biodegradable but they have been outside for the last 10 years," said Mr Alexander.
Rather than feel disheartened by his finds Mr Alexander says he is encouraged to do more when he finds the vintage packaging.
"It re-ignites the fire in the belly. The time and effort I put into it raising awareness is worth it."
Mr Alexander believes there is still more to be done to improve the environmental situation in Suffolk.
"It has taken generations to get us where we are and it is going to take a few generation to get out of it," said Mr Alexander, of Ipswich.
"There are going to be some sacrifices that we need to make in the short term.
"It might be that we have to wait 10 or 15 minutes for a drink of water rather than buy a plastic bottle.
"We don't have to go back to the dark ages."