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I can remember the long heatwave we experienced in the UK in 1976 but back then I was too young and selfish to worry about water shortages. Now I'm more aware of environmental issues though and with a hosepipe ban looming I'm doing all I can to conserve water.
Something else that's never out of the headlines these days is the damage plastics are doing to our environment, so when I visited a cocktail bar this week for a celebration, it came naturally to me that when I ordered the same cocktail again, I asked for the same glass and the same plastic straw to be used. My family followed suit.
Judging by the bartender's reaction, I was the first customer to have done so - although he happily obliged, checking before he took my glass to refill it, that this was what I really wanted.
As someone who took a part-time job in a bar almost as soon as I was legally able to drink in one, I know it was customary for years to reuse the glasses which were presented by our customers when they came up to reorder, without washing them, taking care not to muddle them up (that's about as far as the need to prevent cross-contamination went in those days!) I don't know where this 'new' idea that one always has to have a fresh glass for each drink came from (although I have an idea!) but when you consider that water is one of the most valuable resources we have on this planet, it seems crazy to me.
I'm aware that these days automatic warewashing machines - be they home dishwashers or pub glasswashers - use less water than we'd use if we washed up by hand, but they do run on electricity, so the less they're used, the better.
When staying in a hotel, it pleases me to see signs indicating that my towels will only be collected for washing if I leave them on the floor - not just because of environmental issues but because I hate the sticky feel of newly laundered hotel towels.
Wouldn't it be lovely if our pubs and bars could do something similar, and prompt us to ask for our glasses to be refilled rather than replaced for each drink, or even start a campaign along those lines so everyone's reusing as a matter of course?
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19th July 2018