Last November, Collins Dictionary has issued its "Word of the year" for 2018. The shortlist spanned a variety of newly established buzzwords as well as "revitalized" words from the past, such as floss, plogging (you really have to look this one up!), VAR and MeToo. But among all these influential coinages, the one that came out on top is "single-use".
Single-use is a term that "describes items whose unchecked proliferation are blamed for damaging the environment and affecting the food chain" and also "encompasses a global movement to kick our addiction to disposable products. From plastic bags, bottles and straws to washable nappies, we have become more conscious of how our habits and behaviours can impact the environment," said Collins.
Since the dictionary's annual list is based on the usage of new or interesting words that have emerged as cultural phenomena, it comes as a pleasant surprise to see that environmental issues are steadily making the headlines. If we try to see the glass half full, Collins' choice highlights a shift in society's attitude towards plastic. The use of the terms has risen fourfold since 2013 as a reflection of the fact that we are talking more about single-use items these days because we're trying very hard to do something about our own wastefulness.
As Greenpeace has recently estimated, more than 12 tonnes of plastic enter our oceans every year. This "truckload of rubbish" that harms our ecosystem is a result of our own laziness and improvidence. Food for thought as we enter the New Year with our best intentions, hoping that next year's winning word would be "Re-usable".
This article has been reproduced by kind permission of 24Bottles.
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