What Can I Do?
Every little (and big) bit helps!
Every single person can do something about plastic – there are simple ways to refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle and we can all create more impact by being active advocates and get family and friends on board.
Here are some simple tips:
The 4 Rs pledge
REFUSE plastic products (especially single-use) , bags and packaging & if there's no alternative, ask for it!
REDUCE the number of plastic products that you use or purchase.
REUSE plastic products rather than using them just once, if it's safe to.
RECYCLE plastics that you no longer use if possible; you could even get creative with it.
1. Help raise awareness – just talking about plastic pollution with your friends, relatives and colleagues will help your whole community understand the issues.
2. 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. Water-To-Go.
3. 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’s at Kew Bridge who give a 33% discount on their coffee if you bring your own reusable coffee cup.
4. Choose products that aren’t wrapped in plastic e.g. loose pieces of fruit and vegetables. Your local farmers’ market and fruit and veg stall might provide paper bags rather than plastic and you might enjoy seasonal, home grown, fresh produce.
5. Take your own reusable bag shopping; avoid single use plastic bags and the 5p charge!
7. Recycle the plastic that you do use and find out what you can and cannot recycle from your local council here. TerraCycle is also an innovative company that reuses, upcycles and recycles typically hard-to-recycle waste, like cigarette butts, offering alternatives to landfill and incineration.
8. Avoid buying cosmetics and toothpastes that contain microbeads. Find out more at Beat the Microbead.
9. 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.
10. 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. Read the latest update on this here.
11. 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.
13. Keep informed and sign petitions to governments and manufacturers that promote a more sustainable future for plastics – check our News page for emerging petitions.
14. 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 Watertrek or Plastic Oceans Foundation.