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The problem with plastic

Plastic is one of the biggest waste products that we use in our day to day life.  Although some types of plastics can be recycled, most would take hundreds of years to disappear, so if it is dropped in the streets or makes its way to our oceans, it is going to be there for a very long time. 

Cheryl Burns tells you how you can reduce your plastic use...


Plastic bags and bottles are one of the most common polluters of land and sea, with microplastics (tiny bits of plastic less than 5mm in size) becoming a very big problem for our oceans. 

Each year the amount of plastic produced increases which means more and more ends up in our seas.  Marine wildlife end up eating the plastic which will be very bad for them. 

Some 90% of seabirds consume plastic which gets stuck in their stomachs and leaves little or no space for food.  This means the birds don’t get enough energy and they can get toxic poisoning. 

Animals on land and at sea can also get trapped in plastic bags and bottles and are then unable to set themselves free.

How to reduce your plastic use

The UK Government has made a few steps towards minimising the use of plastic in the country.  First by charging customers for plastic bags and secondly introducing a ban on microplastics in cosmetics and cleaning products.  This is great news, but there is still a lot more to be done, and a lot that we can all do as well! 

By making little changes to our daily life, we can help reduce our plastic waste and help teach others too.  Here are 5 easy steps you can follow to help reduce your plastic waste:

1:  Use a reusable canvas bag instead of plastic ones -taking your lunch to school in a reusable bag and lunchbox will be much better than using throw away plastics.

2:  Check products in your house don’t have any microplastics in them at all!  Avoid products that contain polyethylene (PE), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), nylon polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polypropylene (PP).

3:  Don’t forget your water bottle – Instead of plastic bottles make sure you have your handy reusable bottle that you can take around with you to fill up with water!

4:  Say no to straws – Straws are a common piece of litter found on beaches and something you can easily not use at a party or school.

5:  Share these ideas with your friends - Spreading the word on simple actions you can do is a great way to raise awareness of the issues and share something you are passionate about.  Even better, they might decide to join you on your mission to produce less plastic waste!