Today (8 June) is World Oceans Day and as Britain’s Ocean City, Plymouth is taking big steps to protect the ocean on our doorstep.

The theme of this year’s World Oceans Day is preventing plastic pollution, something which Plymouth has already been working hard at.                                 

This week, Plymouth became the first UK city to achieve ‘Plastic Free Communities’ status for our iconic waterfront, accredited by Surfers Against Sewage.

Environment Plymouth, supported by the Plymouth Waterfront Partnership, Plymouth City Council and the National Marine Aquarium, secured 70 business pioneers and 50 community ambassadors who have all pledged to give up at least three single use plastic items such as straws, cups or cutlery, as well as making other pledges to reduce single use plastics. It doesn’t mean that plastic has been eliminated completely or that it’s banned - but it does mean that a huge step has been taken towards preventing future damage.

Later today, Plymouth’s ‘Plan For Plastics’ will be launched. The plan has been produced by Britain’s Ocean City Taskforce, a collaboration of partners and organisations from across the city.

The plan has four main principles:

  • Avoid - encouraging residents and visitors to avoid single use plastics and to find alternatives
  • Recycle - continue to work to increase recycling rates in Plymouth
  • Innovate - support academic and industry led research into plastic free alternatives    
  • Connect - developing an education programme that encourages people to visit and connect with the natural environment

So how can you get involved?

There are lots of small steps you can take to help reduce the amount of plastic you use and protect our amazing oceans:

  • Buy a reusable cup: Why not pick up one of the new One Plymouth / Britain’s Ocean City branded reusable cups?
  • Pick up your litter: If you’re enjoying a day out, always put your litter in a bin or take it home with you – and try to recycle it if you can!
  • Take part in a beach clean: the National Marine Aquarium is organising 20 beach cleans as part of its 20th birthday celebrations. Find out more here.
  • Refuse the straw: stop using plastic straws and ask your local pub or café if they’ll switch to biodegradable alternatives like paper.
  • Recycle as much as you can: In Plymouth, most hard plastic items – such as milk bottles, plastic food punnets, and a lot of plastic packaging – can be recycled, so check what bin you’re using.
  • Stop buying bottles of water: Reduce the amount of plastic you’re using by picking up a reusable water bottle and taking it out with you. Plenty of shops and cafes offer free water refills as part of the Refill Devon scheme, so you can save money too!

Shockingly approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans every single day – so everything you can do to reduce or recycle will help make a difference.

Find out more about plastic pollution on the Surfers Against Sewage website, and see the full Plan For Plastics here.

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