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We need whale poo 📷 WDC NA

Whales are our climate allies – meet the scientists busy proving it

At Whale and Dolphin Conservation, we're working hard to bring whales and the ocean into...
Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Risso's dolphin entangled in fishing line and plastic bags - Andrew Sutton

The ocean is awash with plastic – can we ever clean it up?

You've seen pictures of plastic litter accumulating on beaches or marine wildlife swimming through floating...
Fin whale

Is this the beginning of the end for whaling off Iceland?

I'm feeling cautiously optimistic after Iceland's Fisheries Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir wrote that there is little...
Mykines Lighthouse, Faroe Islands

Understanding whale and dolphin hunts in the Faroe Islands – why change is not easy

Most people in my home country of the Faroe Islands would like to see an...

Dolphin scientists look like you and me – citizen science in action

Our amazing volunteers have looked out for dolphins from the shores of Scotland more than...
Atlantic white-sided dolphins

The Faroes dolphin slaughter that sparked an outcry now brings hope

Since the slaughter of at least 1,423 Atlantic white-sided dolphins at Skálafjørður in my home...

Bags, bottles and wipes

Abigail Travers from online retailer (and WDC partner), Ethical Superstore, talks plastic.

At Ethical Superstore we are passionate about a range of ethical causes around the world. We offer shoppers real eco-friendly and fair trade alternatives to regular high street brands, and we partner with charities both local and worldwide. Through our checkout, customers can donate to a charity of their choice, and through our partnership with Whale and Dolphin Conservation our customers can now donate directly to their cause.

One of the causes close to our hearts here at Ethical Superstore is the battle to minimise plastic waste and we are always striving to offer real alternatives to single use plastics which are the most likely to end up in our oceans.

The plastic bag ban

So where are we at in regards to reducing plastic waste? Probably not where we should be. you’ve probably seen the horrific videos and stories shared on social media of sea turtles with straws stuck in their noses, or beached whales whose stomachs were full of plastic waste. Although we’re moving slowly, it’s important to note we are moving forward.

Take the 5p plastic bag charge in supermarkets and shops. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last year, this was a charge introduced in leading supermarkets to encourage shoppers to reuse bags rather than using plastic bags every time they shopped. While there was outcry at the time, the results show that it really worked. England’s plastic bag usage dropped 85% in the first 6 months after the 5p charge was introduced. In terms of figures, around 7 billion plastic bags were handed out by supermarkets the previous year, and that dropped to 500 million. It shows we are one step closer to protecting marine wildlife!

Tips on cutting plastic use

So, what else can you do to tackle the huge amount of plastic waste that is ending up in our oceans? There’s plenty really. Look at your daily routine, see how many single use plastics you use and simply replace them with reusable alternatives! ‘Single use’ plastics are things like straws, water bottles, plastic bags and coffee cups (usually these are lined with plastic) and can easily be replaced.

1. Reusable Bottles

Instead of buying bottled water from the shop, invest in your own reusable bottle. There are plenty of BPA-free plastic [AC1] and glass bottles that you can buy, including some that filter tap water as you drink it to improve the taste.

2. Reusable Shopping bags

I’m sure by now most of the country are already reusable shopping bags, you can get them in your local supermarket for about 50p. The range has grown exponentially, with more stylish designs, foldaway bags even trolley bags which make it much easier to pack your shopping when you’re done.

3. Biodegradable wipes

Baby wipes and face wipes are some of the worst culprits because so many are flushed down the toilet when really they ought not to be. The first change you can make is to not flush any kind of wipe down the toilet, this can just cause issues for your toilet and they’ll just end up in water treatment plants or the ocean – not good for anyone. The good news is that there are biodegradable wipes available, so even if you’re not a fan of sending such waste to landfill, at least with biodegradable wipes you know they won’t take hundreds of thousands of years to degrade!

4. Microbeads

Last but not least, one of the best things you can do is refuse to use products containing microbeads. Microbeads are tiny plastic particles used in beauty & skincare products, and they are ending up in our oceans, consumed by fish and other marine life which humans then eat, and they can have potentially harmful effects on the body – we don’t have enough information to confirm otherwise.

Luckily, the UK is set to ban microbeads in cosmetics sold here in 2017, with a view to phasing them out by 2020. That’s quite a long time to wait for some of us, so instead you can look for natural beauty and cosmetic brands that don’t use microbeads in any of their products – there are plenty of alternatives to choose from!

Find out more at Ethical Superstore.