Creating a brighter future

Image: TuanAnhNgo/Pixabay

The hashtag and theme for this year’s World Environment Day is #GenerationRestoration, aimed at delivering a more secure and sustainable future for generations to come.

Thinking about this theme on a personal level, my mind immediately turns to my garden and how my mother has inspired me to nurture it (and her parents before her). When my husband and I first moved to our house, our garden was suffering from about a decade of neglect. It was a huge undertaking, (and one that we almost regretted to begin with), but almost three years later, we have a space that we love. We’ve introduced so many new plants and flowers – and we’re still learning how to keep some of them alive – but we now understand the importance of creating a biodiverse environment, even on a small scale.

I believe the power of handing knowledge down and showing care and consideration for how it is used is something so crucial in life.

In our sector, we receive a constant stream of evidence that the metal packaging industry cares about future generations. Organisations such as Alupro and the MPMA in the UK work tirelessly to create campaigns with the aim of educating students about the aluminium industry, the benefits of recycling, and how to properly recycle.

The Tata Steel team also regularly visit schools to educate and inspire pupils (read more about this in Nicola Jones’ piece for CanTech May 2024), and Crown and the Can Manufacturers Institute in the US work closely with Scrap University Kids, whose aim it is to eliminate metal from the waste stream within the next 30 years by providing recycling education to children.

There may be some patience involved when it comes to informing younger people about protecting the environment, but it’s a rewarding responsibility. This is something Sarah Hills and I discussed on a site visit yesterday to Roberts Metal Packaging, with managing director Chris Saunders and sales and marketing manager, Kirsty Taylor. Kirsty remarked how her three-year-old is now conscious of which piece of packaging waste goes into which bin in the house, and how encouraging that is to see, because she receives education about it at school and at home.

After this, we went on to discuss DRS, EPR, littering and the UK government (some of which will be included in our upcoming article), but something Chris mentioned I think is also worthwhile highlighting here. He commented that Roberts’ old site in Peckham never felt as clean as its current Thamesmead site. When the company moved, the environment was obviously new and noticeably “tidy.” Chris said that he believes the employees seeing this clean environment instilled within them a desire to keep their environment clean and waste-free, more than ever before. This was apparent as we were led round the production floor by Roberts’ production manager, Egle Zurauskiene. Every piece of metal not used in the packaging the company makes is neatly stored, ready for recycling.

This goes to show that having pride in our environment isn’t just something we should limit to our places of work and our gardens – this should extend to our local parks, green spaces, and the planet in general. Now more than ever is the time to cement our part in tackling the climate crisis and ensuring a brighter future for all.

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