Plastic is everywhere in our oceans, forming gigantic dead zones like the infamous 'Pacific Garbage Patch', now estimated to be three times the size of France, and doing incalculable harm to marine life.
There are good reasons for plastic's popularity - it is cheap and incredibly flexible - but the sheer amount we produce and discard is a huge threat, not just to wildlife but also to our own health - a recent article in the Guardian contained an estimate that the average person swallows enough plastic every week to make a credit card.
Lots of people are working to clean up our oceans, but in the meantime we can all do our bit to reduce the amount of new plastic being produced by cutting down on our plastic waste. Plastic Free July starts today, so why not check out the website and think about how you can take part?
Giving up on plastic completely is hard, but most of us use so much of it that there a plenty of easy ways to start. The Plastic Free July site offers lots of tips and advice on doing this painlessly - from making sure you're recycling as much as possible and making sure you take a reusable bag along on trips to the shops to buying food in refillable containers - as well as advanced guidance for more experienced plastic-avoiders.
We'll be bringing you more tips to use less plastic over the course of the month, and the Sustainability team are working with people all over the University who'll be blogging about their own efforts to cut back on plastic. The first blogger, Lucy Paterson, has a post up now - you can read it on the Sustainability site to discover lots of great advice on everything from environmentally-friendly hair care to building a plastic-free wardrobe.
- Written by Tom Marshall, Communications officer: writer and editor, Estates Services.