Plastic – what's the problem?
In the past 100 years humans have produced a lot of plastic. The benefits of plastic are that it's cheap and strong, light and extraordinarily versatile. So it's not surprising we're using mountains of the stuff. But the waste is going to stick around for ages – polluting our environment, pouring into our waterways and threatening our wildlife.
Here's where you can find the essential facts about plastic and the environment – and discover what you can do to help.
What is Friends of the Earth doing?
We're calling for urgent government action to stop the flow of plastic pollution into our environment. We've won some game-changing laws over the years, including doorstep recycling. Now it's time to get drastic on plastic.
We can all take small steps to avoid plastic. But for real impact, we need manufacturers and retailers to act. We want legislation to phase out non-essential, single-use plastics now. It's also essential that current and future governments commit to tackling pollution from hard-to-replace plastics like car tyres and clothes.
Please support our call for tough legislation. Together we can make a difference.
Polluting land and sea
Blue Planet II highlighted the tragedy of plastic pollution in our oceans. Up to 12m tonnes of plastic ends up in the sea each year, including microplastics from cosmetics, bathroom products and tyres.
Sea creatures can get tangled in plastic or mistake it for food. The effects can be fatal. Harmful chemicals linked to plastic have been found in species from plankton to dolphins.
But it's not just marine life that suffers. Plastic waste ends up in our countryside and waterways, harming wildlife everywhere. Help call on the government to get drastic on plastic.
How to avoid plastic
But avoiding it can still be a real headache. Businesses need to reduce unnecessary plastic waste. The government needs to make this happen.
And we can make the government act.