Did you know that in Britain, we use 13 billion plastic bottles every year? Around half of them are recycled, but that leaves 7.7 billion that go unrecycled.
Thankfully, the culture around plastic usage is changing.
At the moment, plastic bottles make up around a third of all plastic pollution in the sea - and they take around 450 years to disintegrate.
What’s more, around 700,000 plastic bottles are littered in the UK every day. It’s a problem, but one we can tackle with some simple acts.
We’ve listed out 15 ways you can help to reduce our collective plastic usage.
Bottled water has a huge carbon footprint. It’s over 1,000 times that of tap water. In fact, a 2013 study estimated that it takes 1.39 litres of water to produce a single litre of packaged water.
If we stopped producing plastic bottles, we’d save more greenhouse gas emissions than if we scrapped 1 million cars.
Eradicating plastic bottles entirely might be a little ambitious, but the 65% reduction by 2025 target is certainly doable. It’s set to create over 115,000 jobs, too!
When some fabrics are washed, they release small fibres, known as microfibres, into the drainage system. Acrylic, polyester and nylon are the main fabrics involved. These microfibres can’t be captured by sewage works and so end up in our rivers, lakes, seas and oceans. They do not biodegrade, instead they break into smaller pieces and absorb pollutants found in the environment.
Fish mistake them for plankton and so eat the plastics and pollutants, impacting on behaviour and health. The toxins bio-accumulate, concentrating pollutants higher up the food chain and ultimately into the fish we might eat.
The clothing industry is looking for solutions but there are also things that we can all do to minimise the production of microfibres:
In the UK, 2.5 billion coffee cups a year are thrown away. Around 1% of them get recycled. Sounds small? That’s because most coffee cups have a coating that means they can’t be easily recycled. Remember: bringing your reusable coffee cup could have a huge impact on our recycling culture.
Reducing plastic pollution is something we can all do together.
We have a responsibility to future generations to look after our planet. In carrying out our conservation, education and visitor attraction roles, we're committed to having a positive impact on the environment.