Growing Environmental Awareness on Avoidable Wastes : ‘Single-Use’ Secures Collins’ Word of the Year Spot

collins word of the year single use plastics waste recycling litter

English Dictionary compiler and publisher, Collins, has selected the term ‘single-use’ as this year’s Word of the Year.

Selected as the #CollinsWOTY 2018, single-use was said to encompasses a global movement to kick our addiction to disposable products.

The publisher noted that from plastic bags, bottles and straws to washable nappies, people have become more conscious of how their habits and behaviours can impact the environment.

Collins went on to explain that the word ‘Single’ first appeared in the 14th-century, and was primarily used to describe an unmarried person, deriving from the Old French ‘sengle’, meaning alone or unadorned. This itself came from the Latin ‘singulus’; one, individual or separate.

However, it began to appear as a combining form in the late 14th-century, forming part of many words such as single-handed and, later on, single-use.

Use is somewhat older, first appearing in the 1200s, and also deriving from Old French ‘user’ meaning to employ, make use of, or consume.

Naturally, single and use came together to describe disposable items, made to be used one time and one time only.

Collins said that its own records show a four-fold increase in usage of this word since 2013, with news stories and the likes of the BBC’s Blue Planet II raising public awareness of plastic waste and other environmental issues.

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