Dame Caroline Spelman has joined Conservative colleagues in Parliament in pledging to give up plastic for Lent. The parliamentarians have each agreed to take part in different challenges to reduce their own use of plastics during the 40 days in the run up to Easter.
Dame Caroline pledged to avoid single use plastics - often used as food wrap or carrier bags - ‘as much as possible’, buy vegetables loose and use a reusable coffee cup during the challenge. She has also written to the Environment Minister to urge him to work with companies such as toothpaste manufacturers; for whom there is no obvious alternative to plastic containers, to help them find alternative products to phase out plastics use in future.
Collectively, the MPs also intend to look out for products which they consider are ‘overly packaged’ and will encourage supermarkets and others to reduce packaging. They will be sharing their experiences using social media using the campaign #GiveUpPlasticForLent.
Dame Caroline commented: “When I look at everyday life, it is literally littered with plastic. We have all seen the common sight of discarded plastic bottles, crisp packets and takeaway wrappers, and the blight that it causes in our community when it is left alongside our pavements, roads and railways.
"To help tackle this, I am pleased that some of my colleagues have launched a campaign called ‘giving up plastic for Lent’, which encourages people to try to cut down on our usage - particularly of more harmful types of single use plastics such as carrier bags and food packaging. This is a great campaign that we can all take part in. Even the simplest of actions such as refilling our water bottle or reusable coffee cup, avoiding plastic wrapped sandwiches, and buying loose fruit and veg makes a difference and I hope that many readers will join me and take part”.