Hello dear readers, welcome to the new issue of the Voice for Arran – we’re into the middle of the year already and looking ahead to a busy month. There is so much to do in the coming weeks! Starting with Pride on 4th, and a botanical drawing workshop at Brodick Castle over the same weekend. Then some theatre in Whiting Bay, Tuesday Talks at the Isle of Arran Heritage museum, Gaelic landscape walks with Arran Geopark, and (definitely a highlight for me) End of Empire biscuits (among other things) at an Indy fundraiser mid-month! The Arran Faerie Trails summer of storytelling is also launching in June, which sees Marty Ross lead performances through the Roots of Arran woodland twice a week over the next few months.

Among some of the things that captured my attention during May was the national Big Plastic Count, organised by Greenpeace and Everyday Plastic. It was an interesting, and rather shocking, experience that quite literally brought home the reality of our ‘throwaway’ culture, and left me questioning – what exactly is all the packaging for? Why is there so much? Surely we don’t need it? Realising the unconscious nature of this disposable way of being was part of the shock. At the beginning of the week I caught myself on several occasions unwittingly flinging things in the bin, then realising – oh, that’s plastic, I need to count it. Making this process of throwing away conscious was a strange mixture of empowering and depressing. For at the end of the week, just in our household, we tallied over 100 pieces of plastic, most of which were single-use.

Sally Campbell has written about her Big Plastic Count week too. She says that the UK produces more plastic packaging per person than anywhere in the world, apart from America. Unless things change, the rate of single use plastic waste produced is set to double by 2040. With the data collected from the Big Plastic Count we can start to learn more about what happens to all our household waste. As Sally reports, the initiative has shown that very little of our waste can actually be recycled, and an even smaller amount can be recycled in the UK. Larger quantities are exported, some goes to landfill and a lot is incinerated. The aim now is to use the data to urge the government to get a move on with its targets, of reducing single-use plastic production and consumption, increasing recycling capacity, and ensuring greater repair and reuse potential of products than is currently the case.

There are signs things are changing – today sees the start of the partial single use plastics ban in Scotland. And last week the Scottish government launched two consultations, one on the Circular Economy Bill and another on a Waste Route Map. The consultations set out the key actions and tools the government will put in place to help people cut waste in our economy, and they are open online for everyone to take part in until 22nd August. As well as the single use plastics ban today, it is also the start of a long holiday weekend, thanks to the longevity of the UK Queen. And while not royalist by any stretch of the imagination, to honour things old and enduring is something I fully embrace. We wish you a lovely weekend, and hope you enjoy the issue… Elsa