Thursday 7 March 2024

Campaigning on Plastic

Plastic waste is a big issue, littering places across the world, making towns look untidy and damaging nature. Plastic is generally made from fossil fuel products, so also indirectly adds to the climate crisis. 

Almost 100 billion pieces of plastic packaging are thrown away by UK households every year, and only 12% of that is recycled. 

We often don't have a choice about our plastic use, often there is no alternative to plastic packaging for everyday essentials. I'm committed to reducing my plastic use, but in the past few years three refillery shops in my part of Edinburgh have opened and then closed again. These shops offered customers the chance to take along our own containers and fill them up with the products we want - from beans to washing up liquid. There are still some shops in Edinburgh offering that service, but now I have a much longer journey to refill my containers.

So what can we do? 

March sees two campaigns on the plastic crisis. 

First up is the Big Plastic Count, which is happening between 11-17 March 2024. For this week, we are being encouraged to count how much plastic we throw away (whether we put it in the recycling or into the landfill). You can take part as a household or get your school, community group or business involved. You can sign up here.

In 2022, almost a quarter of a million people took part in The Big Plastic Count and revealed that almost two billion pieces of plastic packaging are being thrown away in the UK every week. This year, the campaign hopes to provide even more evidence to convince UK government ministers to lead the way at the Global Plastic Treaty negotiations that could phase out plastic pollution.

Following on from the Big Plastic Count is the Spring Clean Scotland campaign, which will take place between 15 March - 28 April. This year's themes for #SpringCleanScotland are Nature, Communities, Health & Wellbeing and Marine Litter. To join in you can:

  • Organise a litter pick in your community.
  • Join a public litter pick.
  • Complete a Litter Survey.
  • Help spread the message and get more people involved. 

Find out more here.

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