Five top tips to beat the plastic problem

9 August 2018

You will no doubt be aware that we are facing an environmental disaster from the widespread presence of plastic debris in every corner of our world.

More than eight million tons of plastic is dumped in our oceans every year. Half of it comes from disposable plastics that are only used once before being thrown away. At this rate we could see more plastics in the oceans than fish by weight by 2050.

Seabirds getting entangled in plastics or ingesting them as food causing starvation, sea turtles mistaking plastic bags suspended in the water for jellyfish, the tiny microplastics being taken up by plankton at the very bottom of the food chain - enough is enough.

We simply must stop these plastics entering our oceans.

The Marine Conservation Society’s conservation programme manager in Wales, Gill Bell, recently wrote about her experiences during the charity’s Plastic Challenge in July. If you haven’t done the challenge to go without single-use plastics for a month, give it a go. You’ll be shocked to see just how pervasive and ubiquitous these ‘SUPs’ are – so many of which seem ridiculously unnecessary and unrecyclable.

We can all do our bit by reducing the amounts we consume at home or when we’re out and about.

So what can you do? Here’s a little guide taken and adapted from MCS’s book, "How to Live Plastic Free: a day in the life of a plastic detox".

You’ll be surprised at what you can do to make changes. You don’t have to completely ditch plastic from your life. Some of the tips here are about going back to basics, doing what people have done for thousands of years, with no inkling of the plastic era to come. Other things you can do are very modern solutions, using new techniques and technologies to leave plastic behind us. We all like to buy new things, and find new ways to enjoy spending our leisure time. Most of us aren’t deliberately wasteful, thoughtlessly uncaring about the impacts of our rampant consumerism on the planet and on our childrens’ future. It’s just that it can be difficult to find the necessities (and occasional indulgences) of daily life without a plastic container, wrapper or freebie throwaway toy.


1. Wash out your plastic bottles and yoghurt pots.

2. Check what your council accepts – there’s normally a list on their website.

3. Get the kids on board – make them your in‑​house recycling experts.

4. Don’t buy anything wrapped in unrecyclable plastic film.

5. If in doubt leave it out – contamination is a big problem.

Look out for more tips and ideas for how you can ditch the plastic throughout August.

And when you switch to Ecotricity we’ll donate up to £60 to the Marine Conservation Society. Find out more here.

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