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It's beginning to look a lot like...

M&S clearly hoping for an unusually early detour from Santa and Rudolph

Despite John Hurt's voice in my ear warning "Oh, we do not speak his name!" I'm going out on a limb to mention Christmas, after recently being stopped in my eco-tracks by a lurid display of mince pies at a service station. Initially I was attracted to the sight of some miserable-looking carrot batons in a plastic bag, and in order to avert my eyes from pitying this landfill-bound abomination I was drawn to the boxes underneath. Mince pies in September (here you have to imagine I turned into Ross Geller from Friends, upset about his sandwich). Tubular bells music blared out across the shop. This was truly an assault on all the senses. Luckily I was able to escape and took refuge in a Costa queue hugging my reusable bamboo coffee cup for comfort.

Even now, I consider the inevitable fate of that mince pie box with the crestfallen acceptance of turkeys approaching the unmentionable yuletide celebration. That cardboard box can at least sit out in the recycling bin turning as soggy as York's churned up verges (thank you York FibreOptics), but the inner bizarrely-shaped plastic separator can only be used as fodder for a weekend afternoon of fruitless Pinterest craft-based searches whilst the Sunday dinner burns. Don't put the plastic trays in the dishwasher. I tried this once. People got very upset. And don't get me started on the unnecessary plastic film sheath to prevent the pies making body contact with the box. Just...please!

Fortunately the horror of that motorway service station has been soothed somewhat by progress back at base, with paper reduction. Ah, a topic we definitely can speak about with unbridled abandon:

Our practice manager Andrea Gibbon, who sits upstairs in a high-backed chair, minus fluffy cat (but with a distinct possibility of a trapdoor in the room) and Dr Alex Beach have been competing to see who can come up with the best paper saving idea. You can only guess at my excitement. Alex noticed we have been printing off appointment lists, which has meant a whopping 1200 sheets of A4 each year. That's 2 and a half reams. All to be happily replaced by a shiny computer-based version. Watch this space to see exactly how much we'll save. Meanwhile up in HQ, Andrea has just announced that OSMP has saved the equivalent of 16 trees this year with Shredit, the lovely firm who safely destroy our confidential waste, and turn 100% of it into recycled paper. They've also just switched to e-receipts. Know any shops that do e-receipts? Halfords, Topshop, GAP, John Lewis, Clarks for starters. Please ask next time you are at the till!

Now I just need to find a box of mince pies that contains zero-plastic. Oh, and no palm oil. Answers on an e-postcard please...

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Feb 19, 2021

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