Over 5,000 people give up single-use plastic in support of Herefordshire charity

Marine Conservation Society ‘delighted’ with national take-up

The Ross-on-Wye based Marine Conservation Society (MCS), the UK’s leading marine charity, says its 2017 Plastic Challenge has been the most successful yet and shows there’s a growing understanding of the effect plastic pollution is having on our oceans.

The charity has run a Plastic Challenge for the last three years - challenging the public to give up single use plastic for the month of June. Last year just over 1 000 people took part but this year 5 035 registered to give up using single use plastic which includes food packaged in plastic plastic water bottles plastic milk bottles shower gels toothpaste and pasta to name but a very few!

“This is a really tough challenge says MCS waste expert Dr Sue Kinsey. “It’s not until you come to do it that you realise just how reliant we are on plastic that gets used once and is then thrown away. The support we’ve had this year has been amazing and we know from the comments we’ve received on social media that this is the start of a lifestyle change for many.”

In 2016 The Ellen MacArthur Foundation reported that every year about 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the oceans - that’s roughly one rubbish truck being tipped into the oceans every minute.

The Foundation also stated that by 2025 there would be one tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish and by 2050 the ocean will contain more plastic by weight than fish. Scientists at Ghent University in Belgium recently calculated people who eat seafood ingest up to 11 000 tiny pieces of plastic every year. The Plastic Challenge was supported by adventurer TV presenter and author Simon Reeve who congratulated everyone who took part whether it was for the whole month of just part of it:

“Over 5 000 thousand people went head to head with single-use plastic! Social media was buzzing with people shocked at how ridiculously dependent we’ve become on the stuff. If you’ve started using less single-use plastics please keep going - let’s build this movement to make our seas cleaner and safer.”

The Plastic Challenge community has shared all sorts of tips during the month via the MCS website and social media feeds. From getting toilet rolls wrapped in paper delivered baking their own bread ditching plastic drinking straws and clingfilm going back to using bicarb for cleaning and choosing glass milk bottle deliveries. MCS hope that the 2018 Plastic Challenge will get nearer 10 000 people taking part as more and more members of the public understand the terrible price the oceans are paying for our plastic society.

Challengers can sign up for the 2018 Plastic Challenge at www.mcsuk.org/plasticchallenge

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