Reasons Not to Use
Single Use Plastic

 You have to have been in a hole, on another planet or sufering a serious bout of X-box Isolation Syndrome, if you haven't been aware of the growing movement to ban single use plastic.

Single use plastic

But what are the facts about this plastic stuff?

What is plastic?

Plastics are man made materials made largely from petrochemicals... er that largely means oil.

They have the rather useful property of being mouldable into any shape for almost any purpose. Although they generally last forever, they are often used to make that irritating packaging that everything comes in these days, that doesn't seem to have a function beyond making the item look good on the shelf, that you can't get into without nearly taking off your left little finger with granny's best pinking shears and once you've finally got into it, you have to immediately find the right recycling bin to put it in, stick it in the landfill pile or, judging by the litter blowing around down my street, just discard it casually and assume that someone else will sort it out.


Plastics are regarded as cheap. This is only because oil, that most of it derives from, is being poured down the metaphorical and actual drain like it is going to last forever, which it isn't.

Running out of oil

Why is plastic wrong?

Plastic cannot biodegrade; it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces but it will always remain plastic.

It is linked to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other ailments.

Health risks

Guide to Marine Plastic Pollution submitted by Savannah

Only 1/3 of all in the UK plastic is recycled.

If we are lucky the rest is going to landfill. The word 'lucky' is being used in the loosest sense here. There is nothing 'lucky' about leaving a substance that leaks harmful chemicals into the water table and thereby pollutes our water supply, environment and the oceans.


Most of us now have a local authority that collects plastic for recycling. And that is usually the point when we pat ourselves of the back and in the process, wash our hands of the problem.

As ever with these things, the truth is more complicated. Firstly not all plastics are the same. Lighter, cheaper plastic are generally harder to sort out. There is simply no market for it. It is cheaper to make it direct from raw materials so even if you do put it in the recycling, it is probably going for landfill.

Thicker packaging has a greater value and is more likely to be recycled.

Much of the plastic that actually gets recycled in the UK does not actually get recycled in the UK. It gets bailed up and shipped to China. There it is turned into that strange material that most hoodies are made out of before being shipped back to the UK for a short life as cheap clothing.

China waste ban

However, China have just announced that they won't be taking our waste any more. So we are kind of stuck with sorting out our own mess.

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Plastic in the sea.

Those of you who haven't been preparing to throw your life away by joining a Trappist Monastery, through a staged withdrawal from the modern world, will have come across the recent fuss about plastic in the sea.

Surely a generally inert substance, that is going to bob around doing nothing much isn't actually going to be a problem is it? Well beyond looking a bit of a mess. Oh, and getting caught on the occasional turtle's flipper. Or maybe confusing the less aware marine mammals into eating a carrier bag or 2.

As well as being unsightly, releasing harmful chemicals, plastic in the sea gives off a chemical that smells like krill.

Krill is a shrimp like creature that is a main foodstuff for many sea going animals including whales. So they eat it when they come across it and it blocks up their digestive systems. That is why plastic is killing the oceans.

Why fish eat plastic

Where does the plastic in the sea come from?

80% of the plastic in the sea actually comes from the land.

Plastic on the way to landfill can easily be blown onto the land. Littler that is dropped will eventually find it's way into the river systems. All rivers flow to the sea.

Then there are the plastics that we flush down the toilet. Cosmetic face rubs, shower gells and tooth paste can all have plastic in them.

Plastic as heavy as 1 billion elephants is now reckoned to be in the oceans.

The Plastic Age: A Documentary feat. Pharrell Williams

Whale killed by plastic

How plastic gets in the ocean

Greenpeace video

So What can we do?

Kids against plastic

Stop buying things in plastic.

Join and support local campaigns

Call for local campaigns

Tell shops and manufacturers that you are doing it and why.

Girls against plastic

Buy things in glass where possible.

Against plastic straws

Don't use plastic straws, knives and forks etc

Tell your friends to do the same.

Write to your MP or Councillor.

Plastic pollution coalition

Plastic pollution coalition video

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