Did you know that here in Portsmouth, we can’t put Tetra Pak cartons in with our normal recycling? I didn’t realise until a couple of years ago, and judging by the oat milk and orange juice cartons in my flat’s communal recycling, it’s not common knowledge. In other towns and cities across the country, it’s perfectly okay to pop Tetra in with your regular cardboard and plastic recycling, but frustratingly, not here. We’re not alone though — only 26% of Tetra is recycled around the world.
That being said, we’re lucky enough to have one of the measly four carton recycling stations in the whole of Portsmouth in West Southsea.
It’s in the Victoria Avenue car park, opposite the Holiday Inn, and it’s also okay to recycle your coffee cups there too. I save my Tetra Pak containers now, and do a mass Tetra drop off every couple of weeks.
Recycling does, of course, help prevent more plastics and other nasties from polluting the planet, but if you’d like to help even further, there are some flawlessly organised beach cleans along our local shores. The team at Southsea Beachwatch run monthly beach cleans and my experience was eye opening. So much plastic. So many cotton buds!
Recycling Tetra Paks and litter picking along the shoreline may feel like small acts in the grand scheme of saving the planet, but we shouldn’t underestimate their power. In Southsea, we’re so well positioned to make an impact — we don’t even need to jump into a gas guzzling car to enjoy brilliant coffee spots, restaurants, pubs, and shops, as there’s so many within walking distance.
Speaking of shops, Southsea boasts a vibrant array of second hand/vintage/pre-loved stores. Buying second hand clothes and furniture helps extend the life of individual items and prevents more flooding of our landfill sites. It also contributes towards decreasing demand on suppliers, which in turn reduces planet damaging bi-products that occur during production processes.
My favourite pre-loved clothing spot is the One Legged Jockey on Marmion Road. It’s endearingly quirky and colourful, with racks of quality, well-cared for, vintage clothes. Whilst I’m there, I also like to walk a minute around the corner to Palmerston Road and pop into Sue Ryder’s Vintage and Retro Boutique. There’s plenty of bric-a-brac to be found there, but it’s their vintage clothing section that draws me back time and time again.
It’s hard, whilst making these small lifestyle changes, not to pat ourselves on the back. ‘I take my reusable bag with me wherever I go and my dining table is made from upcycled wood — I’m really doing my bit!’ In reality though, I think we all feel the weight of the responsibility to fix the planet upon our shoulders, and it’s overwhelming. We feel relief from that responsibility whenever we complete an act of sustainability and say ‘phew, I can rest for a moment.’
That’s how I experience it, anyway, and I’ll continue to look for new ways to make my life more planet friendly in the small ways that I can, right now, whilst perfectly positioned in Southsea.
– By Lauren Allen