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Kent Wildlife Trust gives 5 top tips to cut out plastic

PUBLISHED: 12:03 19 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:03 19 February 2018

We can all help prevent plastics polluting our seas and beaches such as here at Shakespeare Cliff, Dover (photo: Kent Wildlife Trust)

We can all help prevent plastics polluting our seas and beaches such as here at Shakespeare Cliff, Dover (photo: Kent Wildlife Trust)

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Let’s clean up our wonderful Kent coast and make 2018 fantastic by avoiding plastic

Kent Wildlife Trust is calling on the people of Kent to make a real change to their lifestyles in 2018 by reducing their use of plastic products and in doing so help prevent further pollution of our seas and harm to our marine wildlife.

This is in the wake of the alarming issues raised by Sir David Attenborough in his recent Blue Planet II TV series.

Kent Wildlife Trust’s Guardians of the Deep Project Officer, Zoë Stevenson, said: “If you have seen this programme you’ll no doubt have been shocked by the terrible effects of plastic on our oceans and the animals that live there.

“Not all of us are able to live plastic free, but it’s estimated that 50 per cent of all plastic produced is single use. If we can cut this out of our lives, we can make a huge difference to the 8m tons of plastic entering the seas every year.”

Floating plastic is easily mistaken as jellyfish, a food source for many marine creatures (photo: Kent Wildlife Trust)Floating plastic is easily mistaken as jellyfish, a food source for many marine creatures (photo: Kent Wildlife Trust)

5 top tips

1. Cut out the big four. Plastic bags, straws, bottles, take-away drinks cups (coffee and fast food) are the most common single-use items. Take-away cups and straws are unrecyclable, plastic bags require specialist collection, and plastic bottles can only be recycled into lesser quality plastic.

Buy a travel mug for your morning commute and refill a metal or glass water bottle from the tap. If you don’t like the taste of tap water, invest in a filter. Don’t worry about your tap water being unclean; often it’s cleaner than bottled water!

2. Ditch the shampoo and shower gel. These bottles can’t be refilled, so count as single use. Why not try using a solid shampoo bar and go back to an old-fashioned soap bar? There are so many specialist soap makers out there you’re bound to find one that’s good for your skin type. By making this change you’ll be keeping yourself and the oceans clean at the same time.

3. Visit the meat counter. When doing your weekly shop, bring a container to put your meat in instead of the bag the butcher will give you. This gives you the added advantage of being able to buy the exact weight you need for your dinner. Less leftovers equals less waste! You can also apply this tip to your fruit and veg by buying loose instead of pre-packaged.

4. Clean up your cleaning up. Rinse out plastic pollution by ensuring you’re not scrubbing microscopic pieces of it down the drain every time you wash your dishes. Look for natural rubber gloves and buy natural fibre sponges to prevent this type of plastic pollution.

5. Try beeswax wraps. An excellent substitute for cling film, beeswax wraps are made from natural cotton and beeswax (and a few other natural products) and therefore completely biodegradable.

They can be used to cover left-over food, as sandwich boxes, or anything else you might have wrapped in plastic before.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you’ll even find plenty of helpful tutorials online showing how to make your own.

Zoë adds: “This list of five tips is simply a starting point, have a look around and see where it would be easiest for you to cut single-use plastic out of your life. Don’t get discouraged if you forget something and mess up – plastic free is a journey and every little helps. Plastic pollution has the ability to destroy life in our oceans, but together we can turn the tide and change the future of our planet.”

Find out more

Kent Wildlife Trust’s new partnership project, Guardians of the Deep, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, is designed with the long-term stewardship of our oceans in mind.

We currently have a network of more than 100 trained Coastal Guardians, volunteers who regularly visit the Kent coast, sharing their observations and reporting any unusual or interesting wildlife sightings, reporting coastal fly-tipping, keeping an eye out for pollution, and participating in (or organising) beach cleans.

Anyone can become a Coastal Guardian; you don’t need any special knowledge or skills, just a love of the Kent coast and its wildlife.

You can find out more about what is involved by visiting www.guardiansofthedeep.org/coastal-guardians

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