In our current consumer based society you’d be living under a rock to have not heard the term ‘Plastic Pollution’. It is something that has seemingly taken over social media with trending hashtags such as #savetheseaturtles. It seems we are now becoming the generation of change and the generation who are more than willing to take our future into our own hands. Well that’s exactly what the founders of charity Surfers Against Sewage have done.
I had the pleasure of speaking to some of the brilliant humans who work for the charity at Boardmasters Festival in Newquay. I also signed up to become a member and I now donate monthly to aid the reduction of plastic waste in our seas. Whilst on holiday in Cornwall we were mortified as to how much waste people left on some of the most beautiful beaches we’ve seen and it’s really surprising what little steps can be taken by an individual to reduce waste of all kinds but especially plastic.
The charity was founded in May 1990, when only 27% of UK beaches met the minimum requirements for bathing, now this percentage is 98.5%. The charity have even managed to convert the House of Commons to becoming plastic. I think it’s really vital what this charity is doing as many people think plastic pollution is only affecting waters in more exotic parts of the world, Surfers Against Sewage smash this stereotype and bring to reality how close to home the problem really is.
Through their research they’ve produced some plastic pollution facts that I thought I’d share…
- Cotton buds can last up to 150 years, and plastic bottles up to 1000 years before they begin to break down.
- On average 28 wet wipes/baby wipes are found per mile of beach and 99 plastic bottles per km of beach.
- Toothbrushes, straws, razors and cotton buds are all unnecessary plastic that severely add to the plastic pollution in our oceans.
From the research done by charities such as Surfers Against Sewage, change is beginning to be seen across the UK with many big chains deciding to go plastic straw free, such as Wetherspoons and TGI Fridays. Whilst plastic straws only make up roughly 4% of annual plastic waste it is definitely a step in the right direction.
Here are a few ways you can reduce your plastic waste footprint…
- Research… head over to the Surfers Against Sewage Website for lots of information. You could even sign up for a membership to contribute to the great work that they are doing but there are also lots of other ways you can help!
- Buy a refillable water bottle rather than bottled water! You could even invest in a water filter jug if you don’t like the thought of tap water.
- Buy hessian or reusable bags for your shopping… You can see me sporting my Surfers Against Sewage bag here ->
- Refuse a plastic straw or opt for a paper one! You can now buy decomposable plastic straws or reusable metal ones.
- Try using a Zero Waste shop. Not all areas have one but you could always go to your local market for fruit and veg and take your own bag instead of buying prepackaged from supermarkets.
I’m really hoping that we can prove the figures wrong and by 2050 we will still have more fish than plastic in our oceans. What do you think about plastic pollution? Have you tried to to reduce your plastic footprint?
I’m hoping to get chance to visit Leicester’s new zero waste shop NADA as soon as I move back in, to get some of the amazing things they’ve started to sell which is all waste free! So keep an eye out for part two of my plastic waste blogs which will be all about shopping plastic free and my visit to ZeroWasteLeicester.