Marine ConservationSociety urges public to live without plastic in June
The charity is asking people to give up single-use plastic during June. The challenge is to say goodbye to conveniences like pre-packed sandwiches, ready meals and plastic-bottled drinks for a day, a week or the whole month.
Last year almost 850 people took part in the MCS Plastic Challenge, and more than 95 per cent said they would continue reducing their plastic use after the challenge was over.
Dr Sue Kinsey, of the MCS, said she was amazed at the lengths people had to go to find products that didn’t contain plastic of any kind. 'By its very nature, this is a tricky challenge. It highlights how reliant we have become on plastic. But challengers have been making their own bread, yoghurt, cleaning products and bathroom products like mouthwash and sugar scrubs so as not to use plastic containers that are used once, then thrown out.'
The MCS said last year participants reported the hardest items to find plastic-free were dried goods like pasta, rice and pulses, along with milk and loo paper.
It said the amount of plastic litter on our beaches has increased by 180 per cent in the last 20 years and has become a massive threat to marine wildlife.
'Reducing plastic litter will certainly be an uphill climb – but if we can all cut down the amount we use, there’s no doubt our marine environment will be a healthier place,' said Dr Kinsey.
'We want to change people's attitudes towards single-use plastics, and to encourage people to value plastic as a resource – not just buying stuff without any thought of the environmental impact' said Dr Kinsey. 'People taking on the Plastic Challenge are often shocked to find out just how much single-use plastic is used every day. Have a go at the Plastic Challenge, even if you can only manage a single day, and you'll never look at your shopping in the same way again!'
Plastic plays a massive part in all of our lives, from brushing our teeth and showering, to plastic- packed products and cooking. For instance, many of us have lunch on the go – and that highlights the extent of our plastic problem - boiled eggs in individual plastic containers, apple slices in plastic bags, pasties on a polystyrene tray wrapped in plastic, plus prepacked sandwiches and bottled drinks.
'Our clamour for convenience is bad news for our seas,' said Dr Kinsey. 'Plastic is durable and lightweight, but it's these properties that allow it to remain in the marine environment for hundreds if not thousands of years. Plastics are among the most persistent synthetic materials in existence and are now a significant and extensive marine pollutant.'
The Plastic Challenge is sponsored by water filtration company, Brita: 'BRITA UK are proud to be working alongside MCS to encourage people to reduce their use of plastics, in particular, single-use plastic water bottles,' said Becky Widdowson, Brita Marketing Director. 'These bottles play a significant role in contributing to the ever increasing landfill refuse sites as well as littering our beaches and oceans. More than ever, people need to do their part and make small changes that can have a positive impact on these issues. Using reusable filtered water bottles is a simple way to make a difference.'
Register to take part in the Plastic Challenge at www.mcsuk.org/plasticchallenge