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Dear Reader,

This week scientists unveiled new research which found the Galapagos Islands are being inundated with plastic pollution. Plastic was found in seawater, on beaches and inside marine animals living in the biodiversity haven.

Plastic’s reach across the globe was highlighted further as scientists from the University of the Philippines’ Marine Science Institute found plastic pollution at the world’s third-deepest ocean trench.

In more positive news, Waitrose announced it is extending its refillable range to include more products after positive feedback from customers, while the EU’s single-use plastics ban is set to come into force in July in a bid to tackle marine pollution.

As always, we hope you enjoy reading.

John Higginson
Editor-in-Chief
Plastic Free Post

Plastic pollution entering Galapagos seawater, beaches and animals

Plastic pollution has been found in seawater, on beaches and inside marine animals around the Galapagos Islands. A new study by the University of Exeter, the Galapagos Conservation Trust and the Galapagos Science Centre found plastic in all marine habitats at the island of San Cristobal, where Charles Darwin first landed in Galapagos. At the worst-polluted hotspots – including a beach used by the rare ‘Godzilla’ marine iguana – more than 400 plastic particles were found per square metre of beach. Plastic was also found inside more than half of the marine invertebrates studied as well as littering the seabed.

Read more here.

Scientists reach bottom of one of Earth’s deepest points and find plastic

Scientists who reached the bottom of the third-deepest ocean trench on Earth found that plastic has managed to pollute these depths. In March this year oceanographer Dr Deo Florence Onda from University of the Philippines’ Marine Science Institute, embarked on the journey to the bottom of the Philippine Trench with Victor Vescovo, an American explorer from undersea technology company Caladan Oceanic. The pair became the first humans to reach the bottom – some 35,000 feet below the surface – where they found plastic pollution.

Read more here.

Experts – UK should follow best-in-class Danish DRS model

Some 25 experts have urged the Government to introduce a deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks containers which mirrors Denmark’s system in a bid to tackle plastic pollution from bottles.  The experts believe Denmark’s scheme, which uses a variable deposit model inclusive of all materials will best tackle the UK’s waste crisis.  Writing in an open letter cross-party politicians, NGOs, and academics said the UK’s DRS should follow the same model, with the country boasting high redemption rates for drinks containers. A DRS scheme sees consumers pay a deposit on drinks containers that can be redeemed once the container is returned.  

Read more here.

Waitrose ‘unpacks’ more products as demand for refillables grows

In response to growing customer demand for refillables, retailer Waitrose has announced it is launching more new products as part of its ‘Unpacked’ refillable concept. Sales of refillables at the retailer’s four ‘Unpacked’ shops have grown by nearly 9 percent in the past six months, with a number of products proving particularly popular with shoppers. In particular, sales of refillable frozen fruit and vegetables for the same period have increased by more than 50 percent, detergent and washing-up liquid sales have grown by 24 percent while pulses, pasta and grains have risen by almost 8 percent. Following the addition of 13 Unpacked options in December, the store will now expand it to offer 51 lines.

Read more here.

EU single-use plastics ban to come into force in July

The European Commission is set to outlaw items such as cotton bud sticks and oxo-degradable plastics as its single-use plastics ban comes into force on 3 July. According to the 2019 EU rules on single-use plastics, member states have to ensure that certain single-use plastic products are no longer placed on the EU market. These are selected products for which affordable plastic-free alternatives exist on the market: cotton bud sticks, cutlery, plates, straws, stirrers, balloons sticks, as well as some products made of expanded polystyrene (cups and food and beverage containers) and all products made of oxo-degradable plastic.

Read more here.

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