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- Enough plastic is thrown away every year to circle the world 4 times
- More than 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the oceans each year
- 300 million tonnes of new plastic is produced every year
- An estimated 5 trillion pieces of plastic now litter the world's oceans
- 38.5 million plastic bottles are used every day in the UK
- A million plastic bottles are used per minute around the world
- 500 million plastic straws are used per year
Without big action, at the current rate, pieces of plastic will outnumber fish in the ocean by 2050. That is the legacy we are leaving our children and grandchildren. Plastic flows into our lives from every direction and most of it is not recycled. Instead it is incinerated or ends up in landfill, where it will sit for hundreds of years, or enters the world's seas where it fragments into tiny pieces to become microplastics – the environmental scourge of our times.
Many of us had assumed that governments, brands and waste authorities were dealing with plastic on our behalf. But the impact of shows such as Blue Planet II along with national beach cleans and high-profile campaigns have resulted in a collective wake-up call. If there were plans and strategies, they have not worked as we imagined. It would be easy to feel despondent but instead we need to turn our anger and emotion into action, starting by making a big dent in our own enormous consumption.
Turning the Tide on Plastic is here just in time. Journalist, broadcaster and eco-lifestyle expert Lucy Siegle provides a powerful call to arms to end the plastic pandemic along with the tools we need to make decisive change. It is a clear-eyed, authoritative and accessible guide to help us to take decisive and effective personal action.
Because this matters. When it comes to single-use plastics, we are habitual users, reaching out for plastic water bottles, disposable coffee cups, plastic straws and carrier bags multiple times a day. If only 12 of us adopt Lucy's 'reduce, rethink, refill, refuse' approach, we could potentially ditch 3K-15K single items of plastic in a year. When we consider our power as influencers – whether at school, the hairdressers, at work or on the bus – we suddenly become part of something significant.
So now is the time to speak up, take action and demand the change you want to see in the ocean, in the supermarket aisles and on the streets. It's time to turn the tide on plastic, and Turning the Tide on Plastic will show you how.
Journalist, broadcaster and eco-expert Lucy Siegle has had a weekly prime time TV slot dedicated to battling waste plastic (The One Show, BBC1) and a decade of experience as the Observer and Guardian's Ethical Living columnist. Lucy founded the Green Carpet Challenge with Livia Firth to address consumption and sustainability in the fashion industry, and recently worked on environmental projects with Emma Watson and Ellie Goulding. She is well known for her enthusiasm, optimism and playful authority. She recently chaired a panel of some of the world's most exciting plastic activists planning a post-plastic future at the third UN Environment Assembly in Kenya.