The Plastic Ocean Festival has been running in London for a few months now. The aim of the festival is to get everyone to think, talk and take action regarding the damaging effects of plastic pollution; and consider how we can all contribute to stop its proliferation and clean up our oceans and waterways now and for future generations.
You have the power to actively make mindful choices and changes through what you buy / consume, lobbying retailers and their suppliers, and government.
What can I do? Here are a few practical ideas, keeping in mind the 4 Rs Pledge:
REFUSE + REDUCE + REUSE + RECYCLE
- Help raise awareness – just talking about plastic pollution with your friends, relatives and colleagues will help your whole community understand the issues.
- Don’t buy bottled water, drink tap water and carry your own reusable bottle – join the #OneLess campaign! Take a filter bottle when travelling in places where tap water may be contaminated e.g. www.WaterToGo.eu
- Take your own reusable coffee cup to the store and ask for a discount. A lot of people don’t know that takeaway coffee cups and lids are rarely recycled because of the plastic or wax components and inadequate industrial facilities. Check out stylish alternatives like KeepCup or Ecoffee Cup. A few cafes provide a discount like Hammond’sat Kew Bridge who give a 33% discount on their coffee if you bring your own reusable coffee cup.
- Choose products that aren’t wrapped in plastic e.g. loose pieces of fruit and vegetables. Your local farmers’ marketand fruit and veg stall might provide paper bags rather than plastic and you might enjoy seasonal, home grown, fresh produce.
- Take your own reusable bag shopping; avoid single-use plastic bags and 5p charge! Let shop staff know that you have your own reusable bags and don’t need plastic bags.
- Skip the straw! Refuse plastic drinking straws in your drinks or take your own. You can find reusable straws at places like eco-strawsor Etsy.
- Recycle the plastic that you do use and find out what you can and cannot recycle from your local council. TerraCycleis also an innovative company that reuses, upcycles and recycles typically hard-to-recycle waste, like cigarette butts, offering alternatives to landfill and incineration.
- Avoid buying cosmetics and toothpastes with microbeads – see www.BeatTheMicrobead.org
- Use matches or refillable lighters rather than ‘disposable’ lighters. And if you smoke, dispose of your cigarette butts responsibly in a bin and not on the ground – or even better, send your cigarette butts to TerraCycle.
- Choose cotton, wool and other non-synthetic fabrics to avoid releasing polyester microfibres into the environment from your washing machine. If you have synthetic clothes use a shorter wash, which sheds fewer fibres. The latest Feb2017 update: www.patagonia.com/blog/writer/patagonia
- Report overflowing bins and litter in areas near to rivers and canals to your local council with the Keep Britain Tidy App and write directly to the leader of your council with a simple, respectful message and photo requesting that they prioritise keeping these areas clean and tidy to ensure the pollution doesn’t reach the waterways.
- Help us clean up the Thames – join a shoreline clean-up with Thames21.org.ukor paddle and pick on the river and canals with Active360.co.uk stand up paddle boarding and Watertrek.org.
- Keep informed and sign petitions to governments and manufacturers that promote a more sustainable future for plastics. Check www.plasticoceanfestival.com/news for emerging petitions.
- Donate to Plastic Oceans Foundation or Watertrek. Every drop counts and your donation allows us to build our current and future projects, increasing impacts and reach through protecting marine environments and producing creative environmental education. Please consider giving back to the environment through www.watertrek.org/join-us or www.plasticoceans.org/donate.
Keep up to date via www.PlasticOceanFestival.com