Could you give up plastic for a month?

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Could you give up plastic for a month?


The Marine Conservation Society wants to make June plastic free. With potentially more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050, single use plastic is the elephant in the room, or the whale in the tank, that no one wants to address.

Alice Pritchard

Tue 23 May 2017

Could you live for a month without single use plastic? That means no disposable cutlery or straws, no plastic bottles or ready meals. No buying anything pre-packaged from the supermarket. Just thinking about it gives you some scale of the problem, when a crisp packet can take 80 years to biodegrade, a plastic bottle hundreds of years.

Simon Reeve, TV presenter and ambassador for the challenge, says “Our planet is becoming poisoned by plastic. The vast amount in our oceans has become an environmental emergency as a direct result of our throwaway society. That’s why I’m supporting thousands of people living without single use plastic this June as part of the Marine Conservation Society’s Plastic Challenge. Don’t just get depressed about plastic – stop using it!"

A clutch of straws picked from the ocean

Plastic straws can take up to 200 years to decompose

Image Natasha Ewins

While we might have stopped using plastic bags, MCS reckons the amount of plastic litter on our beaches has gone up 180% in the last two decades. Single use plastic is a huge threat to wildlife, killing everything from birds to turtles.

Over 1,000 people took part in the challenge last year. This year’s challenge is supported by BRITA UK.

Living without plastic definitely requires planning but it’s not impossible. Shampoo and shower gel can be replaced with bars of soap and solid shampoo, make your own lunches rather than buying them and switch to a metal reusable water bottle. Get involved in the clean beauty movement or try your hand at making bread or nut milk to replace daily essentials.

“People taking on the Plastic Challenge are often shocked to find out just how much single-use plastic is used every day. Have a go at the Plastic Challenge, even if you can only manage a single day, and you'll never look at your shopping in the same way again,” says Dr. Sue Kinsey, MCS’ Technical Specialist.

Sign up here to join the challenge and to get support and advice from the Marine Conservation Society.