Ditch the plastic in June – MCS issues annual challenge

Picture: Trevor Morton
Picture: Trevor Morton

Think you could go for up to a month ‘plastic-free'?

That's the challenge from the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), which is asking people to give up ‘single-use' plastics during June to highlight the pollution problem facing the oceans.

Single-use plastics include disposable packaging for sandwiches, ready meals and drinks.

In 2015 some 850 people took part in the MCS Plastic Challenge, and the charity hopes even more will join in this year

More than 95% of previous participants said they would continue reducing their plastics use after the challenge was over.

“This is a tricky challenge,” admits Technical Specialist Waste Dr Sue Kinsey.

“It highlights how reliant we have become on plastic, but challengers have been making their own bread, yogurt, cleaning products and bathroom products like mouthwash and sugar scrubs so as not to use plastic containers that are used once, then thrown out.”

Last year’s challengers reported that the hardest items to find plastics-free were dried goods such as pasta, rice and pulses, plus milk and toilet paper.

The MCS, which produces the annual Good Beach Guide, says that the amount of plastic litter on UK beaches has increased by 180% over 20 years, and that plastic bags, bottles and small fragments are regularly found in the stomachs of turtles and other sea creatures, sometimes killing them by causing starvation or choking.

“Our clamour for convenience is bad news for our seas,” says 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.

“Have a go at the Plastic Challenge, even if you can manage only a single day, and you'll never look at your shopping in the same way again!”

The MCS campaign is sponsored by water-filtration company Brita UK, which says that using reusable filtered water bottles is one simple way to make a difference.

Register to participate at Marine Conservation Society. MCS is offering online help and advice  in the run-up to the challenge and throughout June.

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