Plastic Pollution – Doing Your Bit

Array of disposable rubbish discarded on the beach including plastic, takeaway cups, crisp packets etc.

The great Plastic debate is everywhere!

We did our own beach pick a few weeks ago which I was meaning to write about, but I was prompted and motivated by the screening of ITV’s Tonight programme (Plastic : Can You Live Without It) yesterday, to investigate more.

It seems like all of a sudden we are all talking about plastics. The media coverage has become huge, from the news to nature programmes. For me, the real wake-up call was the brilliant Blue Planet II, which highlighted the damage being done by plastics to our marine life in particular. By 2050, the plastic in the world’s oceans will weigh more than all the fish, according to The Ellen MacArthur Foundation. It has also been reported that up to 90% of our seabirds could be contaminated with plastic.

Of course big businesses have to play a big part. The Tonight Programme survey showed 85% of people want supermarkets to stop selling plastic that can’t be recycled. We saw in the programme that the Co-Op is already making a move in that direction. Many people think it is up to the government to sort out the problem. If so, then with the current government plan we would be waiting until 2042 for action (a 25 year plan), but for many this is way too long. It has been quoted that by this time, judging by current rates, British people would have used 192.5 billion plastic bottles.

I am proud to be living North of the Border,

where the Scottish government are already taking more positive steps towards reducing waste, including plastics. As part of the scheme Zero Waste Scotland, the Scottish government sets out a vision for a zero waste society. This vision describes a Scotland where all waste is seen as a resource; Waste is minimised; valuable resources are not disposed of in landfills, and most waste is sorted, leaving only limited amounts to be treated. This includes the introduction of a deposit-return scheme, much like those run in other European countries such as Norway, Germany and Finland. We saw the scheme in play at Edinburgh Zoo in last night’s programme, and it is due to be rolled out in Scotland soon.

You can also read about Zero Waste Dunbar, Scotland’s first Zero Waste town, which is a whole other, very interesting story, which we will perhaps look at separately at a later date.

A sea of dirty plastic bottles washed up on a shore
Plastic bottles polluting the shoreline

But what about us, the ordinary folk? What can we do to make a difference?

The Marine Conservation Society reports that around 40% of beach litter can be directly sourced to the public. We all have a part to play. It also reports that Plastic has been found in the stomachs of almost all marine species including fish, birds, whales, dolphins, seals and turtles. They also found that since the carrier bag charge came in across the UK, the Great British Beach Clean has recorded 40% fewer bags on beaches.

I have a real interest in cleaning up our beaches in particular. I found so many brilliant organisations via social media, all encouraging us to do our bit. You might want to check some of them out:

2 Minute Beach Clean

Surfers Against Sewage

Pick Up 1 Million

People Planet Plastic TV #GiveSeaLifeAHand

We Pick Up Plastic

Dunna Chuck Bruck

Sea Stuff

Array of disposable rubbish discarded on the beach including plastic, takeaway cups, crisp packets etc.
Rubbish on the beach

Here is a really simple list of minor changes we can make, compiled from several sources.

Let us know which ones you are willing to commit to, and we will share them on social media.

  1. Take your own rubbish home and recycle it.
  2. Pick up (at least) 3 pieces of rubbish every time you visit the beach (or other places of beauty/nature). Make sure you recycle it.
  3. Reduce the amount of plastic you use at home – buy things with less packaging, buy loose where possible.
  4. Take drinks with you rather than buying take-away, or at least take your own cup
  5. “If it’s black, put it back”. Black plastic can’t generally be recycled, so avoid it in supermarkets and send the message that we don’t want it.
  6. Stop using plastic carrier bags. Take your own, preferably cloth bags. (See
  7. Stop using plastic straws and stirrers. We simply don’t need them.
  8. The basic principles of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle are a good guide.
Turtle in beautiful clear water
Keep our waters safe and clear for our wildlife and ourselves

Please pin this important information:

How we can all do our bit and play our part in preventing plastic pollution in our oceans and elsewhere. Save wildlife. Save our seas. Here's how:
Plastic Pollution – Doing Your Bit


33 Replies to “Plastic Pollution – Doing Your Bit”

  1. Great post and an issue I am really concerned about too. We are doing our bit by trying to use resuables first and recycling everything else if we can. You are right the supermarkets need to do their bit too – I do find it difficult shopping on a budget, whilst also avoiding plastics. I really hope things will take a change soon – we need more sweeping changes to make a real difference. x
    Rosie @ Little Fish recently posted…A New Chapter for Our Family: Arriving in CambridgeMy Profile

  2. This is such a great issue to talk about and one that I want to get involved with. When I see rubbish at the beach it really makes me sad. We all need to do our bit, for us all to enjoy! It’s great to have you back! x
    Kelly-Anne recently posted…A Simply Beautiful Fragrance for Mother’s DayMy Profile

    1. Thank you Kelly-Anne. I’m glad it’s something you want to get involved in too. The more, the better!

  3. The Scottish Parliament also announced plans to ban plastic straws, following similar announcements by restaurants including Pizza Express, Wagamama and JD Wetherspoon. Seven charts that explain the plastic pollution problem Plastic pollution: Scientists’ plea on threat to ocean giants ‘Lead the way’ Announcing its three-step plan on Tuesday, the BBC said some of its kitchens had already started replacing plastic cups with glasses. A trial will be launched at its site in Salford later this month to remove plastic containers from canteens and test a coffee cup recycling scheme. Any new contracts which come up for tender will also include a requirement to cut single-use plastic. Lord Hall said: “Like millions of people watching Blue Planet II, I was shocked to see the avoidable waste and harm created by single-use plastic.

    1. Familymakes says: Reply

      Thank you for this exttra information. Things are moving very quickly in this area now, which is brilliant.

  4. Thank you, my friend! I appreciate you!

    1. Familymakes says: Reply

      We all have to do our little bit!

  5. Blue Planet has really made me think about I am am contributing to the plastic waste mountain. I am ashamed to say that I am drinking water out of a plastic water bottle as I type. I love your suggestions and especially the bring your own cup for takeaway drinks.
    Emma recently posted…Stay With Me By Ayòbámi Adébáyò’: Book ReviewMy Profile

    1. Familymakes says: Reply

      Thanks Emma, if we all do our little bit it will surely make a difference. I’ve just switched to bars of soap instead of handwash and shower gel.

  6. Fantastic read. We need to start doing our bit to stop these beautiful creatures being polluted by plastic! I really hope a scheme comes in sooner rather than later to help reduce the amount of plastic we use and consume! #blogstravaganza

    1. Thanks Becky, I’m glad you could identify with it. Until something does come in we can only do our own little bit. Every little helps, as they say!

  7. Looking after our planet is so important and I think doing beach cleans is a great way to do our bit! Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza xx

    1. Thanks, I’m glad you like the idea, and thanks for hosting too!

  8. Every bit makes a difference. On our part, we’ve stopped using plastic carrier bags. I’ve stopped using straws too.

    Veronica Lee recently posted…Devil CurryMy Profile

  9. We’ve been doing out bit. KeepCups for coffee, not buying water bottles, recycling what we can … That episode of Blue Planet was shocking

  10. Such a good post. So important to raise awareness as we can all do something and we can do a lot more as we think! Everything starts with small steps and seems like people are awakening and trying to do something about plastic pollution! #fabfridaypost

    1. Thanks Eva, you’re right it’s a series of small steps. We’ve come a long way already compared to 10 or 20 years ago, and we need to keep heading in the right direction!

  11. Great Post – absolutely spot on. I’m sure we can do all the things you listed, but I also think it’s far easier to get a few thousand suppliers and manufacturers to do things than billions of consumers. Governments need to take the initiative and insist that companies solve this problem. It shouldn’t be totally dependent on all of us having to spend time thinking about these issues when we are trying to do our weekly shop. #FabFridayPost

    1. You are spot on about the industry thing – there needs to be more legislation and also more consumer pressure on them to do the right thing too.

  12. We try to do as much as we can at the moment. When we had Leo we even tried cloth nappies but we just couldn’t take to them so now instead we take our reusable bags with us to the supermarket and we make sure we recycle everything that can be. Everyone has to do their bit I think! #fabfridaypost

    1. Sounds like you are certainly doing your bit too Jade!

  13. Luckily there seems to be more awareness of the impact plastic can have. We have a large recycling bin and several at work #fabfridaypost

    1. Recycling is a really good start, great stuff!

  14. It makes me so sad to see all this plastic littering our Earth – it is having such a huge impact! I always recycle and I wish other people would too. #fabfridaypost
    N (Minime & Luxury) recently posted…Diet ChefMy Profile

    1. We just need to keep spreading the word until everyone gets the message!

  15. Wow! Those statistics are crazy and saddening! Great suggestions at the end. It’s really so easy to start recycling and using other products in place of ones, like reusable grocery bags and drinking cups. It’s just a matter of getting into the habit! 🙂 #fabfridaypost

    1. It certainly is – small actions by many people can really make a difference.

  16. This is a great article. I’ve always wanted to take my kids to a breach clean up and the information above is very useful. I shall take a closer look into that. Also I had no idea about the black plastic too. I must remember not to use those kinds anymore. We are already using cloth bags even before the supermarket in the UK has stopped giving them out for free. It’s a shame that they didn’t ban it altogether, and sell cloth bags instead. Just ridiculous! It’s so frustrating when the answer to this is so simple. #FabFridayPost

    1. Thanks Su, I’m glad you’re so on board with helping the environment. If you’re interested in beach cleaning, you might want to know that it’s the Big Spring Beach Clean, led by Surfers Against Sewage ( from 7th-15th April.

  17. […] boys went to the beach with their Dad and did another litter pick, although I didn’t go with them so we don’t have a photographic record of […]

  18. […] lately, thanks to numerous documentaries and high profile campaigns. Have you seen our post about plastic pollution and doing your bit? As we wake up to the level of destruction to our planet caused by single- use plastics, people are […]

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