Row of plastic bottles

The United Nations Clean Seas Campaign in 2017 estimated that there are 51 trillion microplastic particles in the ocean.

No, the North Pacific Gyre isn’t a land mass or a superpower; we have just used these as a creative metaphor to demonstrate the scale of ocean plastic pollution.

But plastic continues to accumulate every day in ocean gyres and we must stop it getting there! The area of the North Pacific Gyre is however 5 times that of North Korea.

A gyre is a large-scale system of wind-driven surface currents in the ocean. There are five main subtropical gyres located in the North and South Pacific, the North and South Atlantic, and the Indian Ocean—which are massive, circular current systems.

Most plastic pollution comes from the land, our cities, our streets and anywhere WE are! It flows down rivers, gets washed out through storm drains and generally hitches a ride on the water and wind cycles to end up in the oceans. Humans make it and we can stop it!

Current and winds take plastic waste to the gyres, where, due to the lack of wind and circulating currents, it stays for approximately ten years before re-emerging if it’s not eaten first!

We’re glad Wasteland helped start a conversation with you about ocean plastic pollution. We think it’s a very serious problem threatening all our oceans and beaches, not to mention marine life and people! More plastic was produced between 2002 and 2012 than in all of time before that… terrifying. And plastic production is set to double in the next 20 years and quadruple by 2050. There could be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050!

Plastic pollution is attacking our oceans and ‘plastic fallout’ could last for hundreds of years, hence the dramatic creative of the gasmask made of single-use plastics, the mushroom cloud made of plastic bags and the submarine bottle.

Throwaway and single-use plastics are items built for the speed of our modern lives, generally used only once before they are thrown away, landfilled or, worse still, released into the environment to make their way into our oceans, ‘ocean-bound’ plastic as it were.

In our ever-growing world, single-use plastic has come to define our lives. But what was once a proud symbol of convenience and progress has become a blot on the landscape of humanity and our oceans. Some of the most common throwaway plastics we find on our beaches, in our cities and countryside include all too familiar ‘single use’ items such as plastic bottles, straws, confectionary and condiment sachets and plastic cutlery.

YES! Our response to Wasteland is one of community strength, hope and resilience.

There is still time, there is still hope. We have the ability to stop Wasteland. By joining the Resistance and by doing your bit, you can help reduce the global threat of plastic pollution and be a vital part of our movement for Plastic Free Coastlines.

Inspired by the Fairtrade movement, Plastic Free Coastlines will create a grassroots movement to engage and connect individuals, communities and businesses in the collective effort to reduce the flow of single use plastics into the marine environment, from source to sea.

Sign up for your Plastic Free Coastlines Individual Action Plan and Get your Plastic Free Coastlines Community Toolkit

We’ll be running a range of community actions across the year focused on refusing single-use plastics, refilling water bottles and beverage cups, recycling much more effectively and reusing things to avoid unnecessary plastic wherever possible.

We don’t think there’s a one-size fits all approach. Some things we can easily get rid of – plastic bags, plastic cotton bud sticks and so on. However, other items have a variety of approaches depending on what works for specific community, business or other stakeholders. Over the first 12 months of the project we’ll be learning from our partnerships and Plastic Free Coastline Communities as they emerge. We’ll then be publishing all our progress and findings.

Most of the replacements aren’t rocket science anyway! Each Plastic Free Coastlines Community Leader will lobby and campaign for what’s right in their area and we’ll support them on this journey.

Surfers Against Sewage has been advocating and promoting various alternatives for years and you can pick up lots of great plastic-free alternatives in our store or with Less Plastic.

  • Plastic Cutlery = Metal, bamboo or other reusable and sustainable options.
  • Single-use coffee & beverage cups = Take your own reusable one – Coffee tastes much better and you’ll normally get a discount at your favourite retailer!
  • Plastic bags = Reusable hemp or organic cotton bag
  • Straws = Just go #Strawless wherever you can!
  • Plastic stirrers = what happened to a good old fashioned metal spoon?
  • Single-use sachets of ketchup = big bottles, preferably glass!

The most common single-use plastics found on our beaches by Surfers Against Sewage:

  1. Plastic bottles
  2. Coffee cups and lids
  3. Plastic cutlery
  4. Straws and plastic stirrers
  5. Plastic packaging for food-on-the-go
  6. Plastic bags
  7. Bathroom plastics, such as toothbrushes and cotton buds
  8. Plastic drinking cups
  9. Condiment sachets
  10. Balloons