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Dear Reader,

This week the results of the UK’s biggest co-ordinated clean-up event found two-thirds of branded litter on UK beaches was made by just 12 firms, with Coca-Cola drinks containers the most prevalent.

With the clean-up finding almost 10,000 pieces of litter, campaigners Surfers Against Sewage, who organised the event, called on the UK Government to introduce a deposit return scheme for drinks containers urgently to prevent them from littering the marine environment.

In other news, throwaway knives, forks and plates may be next to be included in the UK’s Single-Use Plastics Ban as Environment Secretary George Eustice aims to launch a consultation on extending the ban to cover the kind of single-use cutlery and tableware taken on picnics.

As always, we hope you enjoy reading.

John Higginson
Editor-in-Chief
Plastic Free Post

Coca-Cola most common littered brand on UK beaches, says study

Coca-Cola drinks containers were the most prevalent branded litter on beaches in the UK, a report has found, as campaigners call on the Government to get on with introducing a deposit return scheme. Almost two-thirds (65 percent) of all branded packaging pollution across the UK coastline can be traced back to just 12 companies, according to the findings by the marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage. These are Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, AB InBev, McDonald’s, Mondelēz International, Heineken, Tesco, Carlsberg Group, Suntory, Haribo, Mars and Aldi. In total 3,913 volunteers collected branded items over 11,139 miles, making it the UK’s biggest coordinated clean-up event.

Read more here.

Plastic cutlery may be next to face a ban in war against single-use plastic

Throwaway knives, forks and plates may be next to face a ban in the eco war against single-use plastic. Straws, stirrers and cotton buds are already outlawed — but millions of other plastics are still thrown away every year. Environment Secretary George Eustice now aims to launch a consultation on extending the ban to cover the kind of single-use cutlery and tableware taken on picnics. The move will force Brits to either take their own regular cutlery or use wooden versions instead.

Read more here.

Hermit crabs attracted to an additive released by plastics in the oceans

Hermit crabs are attracted to an additive released by plastics in the oceans that could lead to them mistaking pollution for food, a new study has warned. Researchers discovered that oleamide – an additive found in plastics – increases the respiration rate of the crustaceans, indicating excitement. They also found that oleamide can be mistaken for food, potentially increasing the consumption of microplastics by hermit crabs and other marine life. The University of Hull team studied hermit crabs taken from waters off the Yorkshire coast as part of research into the impact of climate change, plastic and other molecules on marine species. 

Read more here.

Two-thirds of puffin nests in north-west Europe include plastic

A new report looking at thousands of seabird nests across north-western Europe has found 12 percent contain plastic debris – including around two-thirds of puffin nests. The four-year study collected information from 14 seabird species in 84 colonies in the UK, Norway, Iceland, Sweden and the Faroe Islands to highlight the impact marine plastic pollution poses to wildlife. The team, led by scientists from the North Highland College UHI’s Environmental Research Institute, found that 12 percent of the 10,274 nests they investigated included plastic debris, and Atlantic Puffins were the most affected species. The amount of debris found in nests was also discovered to be related to the intensity of nearby human activity.

Read more here.

Ice cream with edible ocean waste highlights marine debris problem

A rum-infused ice cream topped with flavoured 3D-printed plastic bags, cans, bottles, cartons and more is being used to raise awareness about beach and ocean litter. Kraken Rum has partnered with marine conservation charity, PADI AWARE Foundation, to create the alcoholic ‘Ice Clean’ protest dessert. They aim to help with PADI AWARE’s mission to reduce ocean waste by half within the next 10 years. Millions of Britons have holidayed in the UK this year instead of going abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic. This partnership wants to remind these staycationing Brits of the importance of looking after our home beaches and oceans by recycling and properly disposing litter this summer.

Read more here.

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