What can we all do to reduce marine plastic pollution ?
You are not powerless and you can help to make changes by changing your buying habits, lobbying retailers and their suppliers and government.
A few ideas are set out below.
1. Help raise awareness – just talking about plastic pollution with your friends, relatives and colleagues will help your whole community understand the issues.
2. Don’t buy bottled water, drink tap water and carry your own reusable bottle – join the #OneLess campaign! Take a filter bottle when travelling in places where tap water may be contaminated e.g. Water-To-Go.
3. Take your own reusable coffee cup to the store and ask for a discount. A lot of people don’t know that takeaway coffee cups and lids are rarely recycled because of the plastic or wax components and inadequate industrial facilities. Check out stylish alternatives like KeepCup or Ecoffee Cup. A few cafes provide a discount like Hammond’s at Kew Bridge who give a 33% discount on their coffee if you bring your own reusable coffee cup.
4. Choose products that aren’t wrapped in plastic e.g. loose pieces of fruit and vegetables. Your local farmers’ market and fruit and veg stall might provide paper bags rather than plastic and you might enjoy seasonal, home grown, fresh produce.
5. Take your own reusable bag shopping; avoid single use plastic bags and the 5p charge! In small shops where the charge doesn’t apply let then know you have a bag and don’t need lots of plastic bags.
6. Skip the straw! Refuse plastic drinking straws in your drinks or take your own. You can find reusable straws at places like eco-straws or Etsy
7. Recycle the plastic that you do use and find out what you can and cannot recycle from your local council here. TerraCycle is also an innovative company that reuses, upcycles and recycles typically hard-torecycle waste, like cigarette butts, offering alternatives to landfill and incineration.
8. Avoid buying cosmetics and toothpastes that contain microbeads. Find out more at Beat the Microbead.
9. Use matches or refillable lighters rather than ‘disposable’ lighters. And if you smoke, dispose of your cigarette butts responsibly in a bin and not on the ground – or even better, send your cigarette butts to TerraCycle.
10. Choose cotton, wool and other non-synthetic fabrics to avoid releasing polyester microfibres into the environment from your washing machine. If you have synthetic clothes use a shorter wash, which sheds fewer fibres. Read the
11. Report overflowing bins and litter in areas near to rivers and canals to your local council with the Keep Britain Tidy App and write directly to the leader of your council with a simple, respectful message and photo requesting that they prioritise keeping these areas clean and tidy to ensure the pollution doesn’t reach the waterways.
12. Help us clean up the Thames – join a shoreline clean-up with Thames21 or paddle and pick with Active360 stand up paddle boarding and Watertrek.
13. Keep informed and sign petitions to governments and manufacturers that promote a more sustainable future for plastics – check our News page for emerging petitions.
14. Donate to Plastic Oceans Foundation or Watertrek. Every drop counts and your donation allows us to build our current and future projects, increasing impacts and reach through protecting marine environments and producing creative environmental education. Please consider giving back to the environment through Watertrek or Plastic Oceans Foundation.
Keep up to date via www.plasticoceanfestival.com