Is this the proof that we are winning the war on plastic? Beach waste dwindling and recycling in big push for green campaigns
- Plastic pollution has fallen to 385 pieces of litter per stretch of beach this year
- That’s down from 558 items in 2019, according to Great British Beach Clean
- A survey by sustainability charity Regroup found that plastic recycling rose 4% last year
Plastic pollution in the UK may finally be declining as recycling increases and litter littering the seaside decreases.
Only 385 pieces of litter were found per stretch of beach this year – down from 558 in 2019 – according to the national garbage collection event The Great British Beach Clean.
Plastic recycling rose 4 percent last year, according to a survey by sustainability charity Recoup.
It’s a huge victory for the Daily Mail, which has long struggled to eliminate plastic pollution.
Just 385 pieces of litter were found per stretch of beach this year – down from 558 in 2019 – according to the national garbage collection event The Great British Beach Clean.
This includes supporting calls for a deposit-return system and charging for single-use plastic bags.
However, despite the drop, charities warned that the UK still had a long way to go in reaching government targets to tackle the problem.
The Marine Conservation Society (MCS), which organizes beach cleanup, said plastic and polystyrene remain the most common types of litter — accounting for 75 percent of seashore waste.
Crunchy and sweet packages, as well as plastic wraps and lids, were among the most popular items found across the country.
And personal protective equipment, such as face masks and gloves, was found dumped on nearly one in three beaches.
However, the number of cotton buds collected fell to the lowest level in the event’s 28-year history – on average only six were found.
MCS said this was ‘likely’ due to policies banning the items, which were introduced in Scotland in 2019 and in England last year.
The numbers of single-use plastic bags also continued to decline, from a high of 13 in 2013 to just three this year.
MCS’s Lizzie Pryor said: “The continued downward trend we are seeing in litter levels on UK beaches is a positive sign that the actions we are taking at a personal, local and national level are working.
‘But we can’t just sit back and relax. Now is the time for more ambitious action.
Recoup echoed her calls saying that despite the progress being made, the UK had a long way to go.
The survey estimated that 584,000 tons of household plastic packaging was collected for recycling last year – an increase of 24,000 tons (4%) over 2019.
However, the UK will need to double this amount to meet the government’s target of recycling 70 per cent of plastic packaging by 2025.
About 75 percent of clear PET beverage bottles – including water bottles – have been recycled. And 78 percent of the plastic milk bottles were collected for recycling.
However, only a third of plastic pots, basins and trays were recycled.