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21 Sep 2020

Briefing on ending plastic pollution

Read and download our briefing on what the role of government should be in tackling the plastic crisis.

Demand a stronger Environment Bill

Template joint letter for local media

For Publication

While the fight against Coronavirus has rightly been the top priority in recent months, the huge environmental threats the world faces, such as the nature and climate crises and scourge of plastic pollution, have not gone away – and must be urgently addressed.

Fuelled by a growing number of scientific studies showing its widespread presence in our rivers, oceans, mountains and countryside, public concern about plastic pollution remains high.

The government response so far, such as bans on plastic stirrers and straws, are certainly welcome, but fall far short of the comprehensive measures needed to address the problem.

Of course, plastic isn’t the only waste problem we face. Care must be taken not to create even more waste by simply substituting single-use plastic for another disposable material.

The Environment Bill, currently passing through Parliament, provides a perfect opportunity to tackle both plastic pollution and the other sources of waste that blight our planet.

This is why we are calling on [CONSTITUENCY] [MP NAME] to back calls for the new legislation to include bold and legally-binding targets to reduce plastic pollution, and cut waste.

These targets should be based on the approach outlined by Friends of the Eart, Greenpeace, Surfers Against Sewage, The National Federation of Women's Institutes and Keep Britain Tidy in their and Alasdair Carmichael MP’s Plastic Pollution Bill.

Our politicians have been very vocal about getting tough on plastic pollution. Now it’s time to act.

[ALLY 1]
[ALLY 2]

Social media images

Split screen with flourishing nature contrasted with polluted environment and text reading "Demand a stronger Environment Bill"

Online actions

  • Sign our petition to pile the pressure on the government keep our oceans plastic free.

Petition sheet

You can download and print a paper version of our petition to keep plastic out of the oceans for your stalls and events.

Plastic pledge

You can share this local authority Plastic Pledge with your council and ask them to take action to help beat plastic pollution. If you do contact your council, please let us know how you get on by emailing [email protected]

5 short films about plastic

If you’re hosting an event or want something to get people thinking and talking about plastic at your meeting, here are 5 short films about plastic that could help.

Showing a short film can be a great way to introduce a topic and illustrate an issue in a snappy and concise way.

  1. Here’s Why Plastic is so Much Worse Than You Think (3:20)
    Computer animated film showing how plastic ends up in the oceans and is ingested by marine animals, plus some ideas for what you can do to help, including urban cleans, buying plastic-free and recycling.
  2. How We Can Keep Plastic Out of Our Ocean (3:10)
    This short film shows how plastic ends up in the ocean and is broken down into small pieces which are eaten by marine animals. It also looks at how tiny particles of plastic end up back in the soil.
  3. Plastic ocean (7:28)
    A hard-hitting look at how plastic is carried on the ocean currents all over the world and how it affects marine animals and is fed to young birds by their mothers.
  4. Three Animated Short Films Ocean Plastics
    OK so this is technically 3 films, but they’re all really short and very powerful. They’re stop-motion animations by animator and filmmaker Alice Dunseath, illustrating the problem of plastic pollution and how it spreads around the globe, using plastic found on the shores of Britain and Hawaii.
  5. It’s a Plastic World (4:40)
    Short animated film showing how plastic breaks up into tiny pieces and how they end up in the oceans and impact marine life. Warning: the video also talks about impacts on human health - we need to be cautious around this as there currently isn’t enough research out there for us to make these sorts of claims confidently. You could either stop the video half way through or explain that there are concerns about the impacts on our health but that research still needs to be done.

Keep in touch

To contact the Plastics team at Friends of the Earth, email [email protected].

To stay in touch with other Friends of the Earth local groups working on our campaign, join our Facebook group.

Please keep us up to date with all the brilliant things you’re doing by filling in this Google Sheet whenever you do something plastic related. It really helps us keep track of all the amazing work that local groups are doing on the campaign –and it lets you see what other groups are doing to spark ideas for your group.