Whenever we need some “proper” shopping, we head about 20 miles away to Southampton. It’s a far better for shopping than nearby Salisbury.
My wife was looking for some new earphones today, so off we headed. A mediocre shopping list – return some clothing, look for the earphones, then go to the Decathlon for some tee-shirts to wear at the gym (her, not me!).
We went mid-morning, and by lunchtime we were done. Seeing as we were out, my wife suggested getting some lunch. Me being me, I agreed.
Most of our shopping had been done in a mall called West Quay, so we decided to lunch there. We found an American-styled burger place called Five Guys. I’d never heard of the place before, although from its web site, it looks like a US chain which has opened up in the UK. They had a decent-looking menu, and I decided to eat meat for the meal.
The order was a burger (wife) and a hot dog (me). We shared a portion of fries, and I had a milk shake and wife a fizzy drink.
Going through this one-by-one, both the burger and the dog came wrapped in foil. The fries came in a polystyrene cup. Wife’s drink came in one of those paper-impregnated-with-plastic cups, and my drink came in a pure plastic cup, complete with plastic straw and lid. The drinks came immediately, but the food came all together, in a paper bag.
I suppose these guys deserve a round of applause for using paper bags, not plastic. But the goodness stops just about there. Foil is indeed recyclable (let’s forget for a minute that re-using is preferable to re-cycling), except I saw people eat their burger, scrunch their foil wrappers into a ball, place back in the bag, then the bag scrunched up and put in their bin. So I wonder just how much of that foil gets recycled? A polystyrene cup, used once then also put into their trash. My drink – three pieces of plastic, used once then thrown away. Lastly, my wife’s drink. In exactly the same kind of single-use cup that ethical coffee chains have refused to use.
The only area in which I have questions here is in how we encourage people to use resources more wisely. I don’t like to run towards taxing everything to force people to change their habits, but taxing plastic bags certainly had the right effect. Maybe if cafes are forced to charge £50 for their foil-wrapped burgers, they’ll think twice?