Parking The Last Plastic Straw

As the plight of plastic makes the headline news again, the UK Government looks to tackle the problem of plastic pollution ending up in the world’s oceans. They hope to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste and ban single use plastic by 2025.

A consultation is to take place later this year and big brand names such as Coco Cola, Asda, Sainsburys, Tesco, Waitrose and Nestle have already signed the UK Plastics Pact to eradicate single use plastics from packaging in an effort to tackle the pollution crisis our world faces.

Blue Planet II

The stunning David Attenborough BBC Blue Planet II series really highlighted the shocking truth that the impact of plastic waste has on our marine life. The final episode upset viewers when they saw an albatross feeding their chicks plastic and a whale with a bucket caught in its mouth.

It is estimated that over 100,000 seas mammals die from eating or getting tangled up in plastic waste. And it is not just life below the waters that is affected, studies have shown 90% of seabirds also have plastic in their digestive systems.

A truckload of plastic waste enters our oceans every single minute, amounting to a staggering, eight million tons of plastic being dumped in the sea every year.

Plastic Straws

The Blue Planet series brought public outcry and a demand for everyone to do their bit for the fight against plastics. Campaigners have welcomed the announcement that the UK is set to ban the sale of plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds. 8.5 billion plastic straws are thrown away in the UK alone every year.

Companies such as Marriott International has stopped using plastic straws in 60 of its UK hotels and McDonalds is looking to use paper replacements. Coffee chains Costa Coffee and Pret A Manger along with many others are looking to replace their plastic straws with alternatives in 2018.

London City Airport has also removed all plastic straws from all its food and drink outlets claiming that it is the first UK airport to implement the plan to reduce the amount of plastic waste.

Anti-plastic Measures

Anti-plastic measures are growing every day; since the introduction of the mandatory 5p charge for plastic bags in shops, 9 billion fewer plastic bags have been used in England.

And with over 1 million plastic bottles bought worldwide every minute the UK government are proposing to introduce a bottle deposit return scheme like the one currently operating in some European countries. Shoppers are asked to pay an up-front deposit; 8p in Sweden and 22p in Germany and they then get their money back when they return their empties.

Small Changes Will Make a Difference

And just as I Love meet and greet are doing their bit to help reduce plastic waste by giving away free stainless steel straws complete with a cleaning brush to their customers, we can all do our bit to help reduce the need for plastic. Even the smallest of changes will make a difference; using a reusable coffee cup, buying washing detergent in cardboard boxes rather than plastic bottles, replacing sandwich bags and cling film with long last containers.

Remember doing something is better than doing nothing at all and together our actions will make a difference in the fight against plastic pollution.

By Sarah Anglim at 30 Apr 2018

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