Plastic packaging weighing the same as 3.3 million Emperor Penguins will be thrown away this Christmas

By: Clare Fischer
Date posted: 19 December 2017

114,000 tonnes of plastic packaging will end up in the bin, and not recycled, over the festive period. Our message - recycle as much plastic, glass, paper, card, metal, foil and wood as you can and don’t let Christmas strangle our oceans.

Plastic bottle pile
© Bo Eide / Wildscreen Exchange

We mustn’t let drinks cups, plastic cutlery, straws, plastic bottles, lids and stirrers replace sea life. They’re used for a moment but last a lifetime in our oceans.

Emma Cunningham,
MCS Senior Pollution Campaigns Officer.

Charities, including MCS, Friends of the Earth, the RSPCA, the National Trust and the Wildlife Trusts, under the Wildlife and Countryside Link umbrella, are raising the issue of plastic waste this Christmas - because it degrades slowly and is causing untold damage to oceans and marine wildlife.

“Our recently launched beach litter report revealed the tide of plastic has risen to a whopping 70% on UK beaches. It’s harming our wildlife and it’s time we took a stand - because we can,” says Emma Cunningham, MCS Senior Pollution Campaigns Officer.

“We mustn’t let drinks cups, plastic cutlery, straws, plastic bottles, lids and stirrers replace sea life. They’re used for a moment but last a lifetime in our oceans.”

The damage being done to the world’s oceans by plastic has been highlighted in the BBC’s flagship nature series Blue Planet II.

Wildlife and Countryside link say businesses should slash wasteful packaging, while governments across the UK must commit to a raft of strong measures to tackle plastic waste in the New Year, the groups have urged.

And the public can do their bit for the environment by recycling as much plastic, glass, paper, card, metal, foil and wood this Christmas as they can, said the coalition.

“Government has the power to change the habits of our throwaway society. They can put a stop to the ongoing environmental disaster of ocean plastic pollution. We’d urge everyone to join our call to get charges introduced across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on single-use plastic items such as plastic cups and lids, straws, plates and cutlery,”says Emma Cunningham.

Dr Elaine King, director at Wildlife and Countryside Link, said: “These figures shine a light on the harsh reality of the impact we have on our environment and wildlife. Our waste can be invisible to us once it’s in the bin.

“So it is easy to forget that it ends up in landfill or finds its way into our rivers and seas - polluting our land, oceans, animals, fish, birds and insects. We need to give a gift to the environment and get our packaging waste under control.”

MCS is currently calling on UK governments to put a charge on single-use plastic throwaway items and demanding that big fast food chains stop giving out millions of plastic cups, stirrers, straws and cutlery but instead replace them with reusable or fully compostable alternatives.

Actions you can take

  1. Help us stop the plastic tide
  2. Download the Great British Beach Clean Report 2017

Did you know?…

Since the carrier bag charge came in across the UK, the Great British Beach Clean has recorded 40% fewer bags on beaches

Every day millions of microplastics enter the sea from personal care products such as scrubs and toothpastes

Over time, one plastic bottle bobbing along in the ocean can break down in to hundreds of tiny plastic pieces

Help protect 40% of English seas

Dolphion
Let the government know they must protect our ocean and marine wildlife before it’s too late.

Take action