Last updated: 28 August 2019
Reading time: 5 mins
Plastic Free Communities are an exciting programme driven by Surfers Against Sewage, that is encouraging communities to give up their addiction to single-use plastics and change the system that produces it.
8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into the ocean every day and with the production of plastic goods expected to double by 2034, there is an incentive to act now and stop our waterways from being suffocated by plastics in the future.
We wanted to be able to apply our own resources and perseverance in protecting the ocean and its waters for generations to come by partnering with Surfers Against Sewage to create ‘Plastic Free Regents Canal’.
We will be working alongside the Regents Canal Community encouraging residents, businesses and schools to make the switch from plastic-based items to those that are sustainable and can have the planet’s best intention at heart.
Our lives revolve around plastic. From where we drink our water, to how we eat our food and how we do our shopping, single-use and convenient plastics have infiltrated every corner of our everyday lives.
But everything is not as rosy as it may be seen. Whilst extremely easy to get ahold of, plastic has a big dark side.
Those wrappers our favourite crisps and sweets come in can take 100-300 years to break down.
Cotton bud sticks; 150 years
Plastic Bags; 100-300 years
We use these for a matter of minutes, sometimes seconds, but their impact will outlive our own lifetime.
Over 1 million seabirds die every year from ingestion of plastics that have been thrown away carelessly and have ended up in the ocean. As well, on average 28 wet wipes are found per mile of beach in the Uk.
Living in such a heavily populated country such as Britain, a lot of waste is being produced. 22 million tonnes to be exact. Unfortunately, instead of this being recycled a lot is being sent over to other countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia into their own landfills due to the sheer magnitude of single-use plastics we are consuming.
Through ‘Plastic Free Regents Canal’, we want to encourage change not just in the local community but all throughout the country as well.
Of plastic is landfilled in the U.K.
Plastic Bottles were found per KM of Beach in 2015
Marine Mammals die every year from ingestion and entanglement of marine litter
A campaign group working towards eliminating single-use plastics in the borough, Plastic Free Hackney is encouraging all those who live and work in the area to reduce their reliance on plastic products.
The group is extremely active, constantly planning local events and posting on their Instagram tips and tricks to how we can all make small switches to a zero-waste lifestyle.
Upcoming events in September include:
Make Your Own Low-Cost Toiletries September 5th 10.15am- 11.45am
Litter Pick September 29th 10am-3pm
Plastic Free Jersey is based on the Channel Island, of you guessed it, Jersey. As with all the Plastic Free Communities, they are aiming to reduce the amount of plastic waste around the island and tackle plastic pollution along the coastline.
There are 4 ways if you live in Jersey that you can get involved:
Regents Canal covers 14km of waterways in London, stretching all the way from Little Venice to Docklands. Passing by the Zoo, Camden Market and Victorian Warehouses, a boat along the canal has long been a favourite and enjoyable activity in the summer amongst locals and tourists.
However, an increase in pollution puts all of London Canals at risk whilst also water safety levels and aquatic life as well.
Grand Union Canal in Ealing
An organisation driving change Plastic Patrol, has been formed that is working towards making London’s Canals cleaner and friendlier for the aquatic life that makes these bodies of water their home.
By setting up the ‘Plastic Free Regents Canal’ we want to ensure that plastic from the get-go is not entering our waterways, encouraging a healthier water environment for us all.
Small changes to our habits can make a huge difference to the amount of waste that ends up in landfills or roaming in our local environments.
We are encouraging a few things for those living by Regent Canal (and other locations as well!) to adapt:
Refill– Remember to always carry a reusable water bottle with you! It’s not only good for your body in this summer heat but it encourages less or no use of disposable plastic water bottles that can take 100-1000 years to break down.
Reduce– Try to encourage local businesses and perhaps others around the home to switch to reusable coffee cups and wooden stirrers for example to reduce the amount of plastic waste ending up in Britain’s landfills.
Reuse– Save money by bringing your own bags when doing the weekly shop. Save your wallet and the environment from more damage!
Recycle– Throw those single-use plastic bottles and containers that may sneak up on you into the recycling bin. These can become new products!
Refuse– Plastic Straws may be convenient, but do not get along with our environment. They are in the top 10 Items polluting the ocean and harming marine life.
Replace– Let’s encourage local restaurants and takeaways to replace single-use containers with refillable and reusable ones.
Local Governance supporting the journey to Plastic Free Community status
This can include council leading by example to remove single-use plastic items from their premises to encourage plastic-free initiatives.
Local Businesses going Plastic-Free
This means at least three single-use plastic items removed from local businesses and retailers and replaced with sustainable alternatives.
Plastic Free Allies
We want to drive a widespread community movement that spreads the plastic-free message to a diverse audience and ensures that we are banding together to fight against avoidable single-use plastics.
Whilst we are only just getting started, we have high hopes and goals that we want to achieve throughout this community and for Regents Canal to be a role model for the future of our plastic free waterways.