Plastic bottles are a common sight in our day-to-day lives. Go into a newsagent, supermarket or train station, and you’ll be inundated with choices of bottled water and soft drinks to buy.
But another all too familiar sight is empty plastic bottles on our streets, in our rivers and on our beaches. Through wind and waterways, these plastic bottles can easily end up in our oceans.
Beach cleans around the world show that plastic bottles and bottle tops together make up the most commonly-found plastic packaging washed up on the world’s beaches.
Our collection and recycling systems just can’t keep up with the surging numbers of plastic bottles that we’re being sold. Even though plastic bottles are made out of one of the easiest materials to recycle, only just over half of the plastic bottles produced globally are recycled - with less than 1 in 10 recycled into new plastic bottles.
In the UK, that’s as many as 16 million plastic bottles every day that aren’t being recycled!
Here’s three ways you can take action:
1. Say no to single-use plastic bottles! You can cut your plastic footprint by carrying a reusable bottle. You can fill it with tap water for free, save money on bottled water and do your bit to limit the number of throwaway bottles harming our ocean life.
2. Show your support for Deposit Return Schemes. These schemes - where a small deposit on a plastic bottle is refunded when it’s returned for reuse or recycling - are in place around the world, with millions of people using them. And they really work! In parts of the US where schemes are operating the number of plastic bottles washing up on beaches has dropped by a staggering 70%.
Scottish politicians are currently looking at introducing the scheme, and ministers in Westminster are under pressure to follow suit - add your name to our petition here!
3. Tell your friends! We need recycling to deal with plastic waste but ideally we’d reduce the number of bottles being produced in the first place. Lots of people have no idea of the extent of the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans so the more awareness we can raise the better! You can share this video: