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Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

What have dead whales ever done for us?

When dead whales wash up on dry land they provide a vital food source for...
Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

We’re getting to know Risso’s dolphins in Scotland so we can protect them

Citizen scientists in Scotland are helping us better understand Risso's dolphins by sending us their...
Pilot whales pooing © Christopher Swann

Talking crap and carcasses to protect our planet

We know we need to save the whale to save the world because they are...
Fin whales are targeted by Icelandic whalers

Speaking truth to power – my week giving whales a voice

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting is where governments come together to make decisions about whaling...

Why do whales and dolphins strand on beaches?

People often ask me 'why' whales and dolphins do one thing or another.  I'm a...
A spinner dolphin leaping © Andrew Sutton/Eco2

Head in a spin – my incredible spinner dolphin encounter

Sri Lanka is home to at least 30 species of whales and dolphins, from the...
Sperm whale (physeter macrocephalus) Gulf of California. The tail of a sperm whale.

To protect whales, we must stop ignoring the high seas

Almost two-thirds of the ocean, or 95% of the habitable space on Earth, are sloshing...
WDC team at UN Ocean conference

Give the ocean a chance – our message from the UN Ocean Conference

I'm looking out over the River Tejo in Lisbon, Portugal, reflecting on the astounding resilience...
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  • All policy news
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Stop whaling
  • Strandings

Minke whale hunts stop in Iceland

Iceland’s commercial hunt of minke whales has ended for this year. The common minke whale is the...
Port River dolphins

New report reveals 100,000 dolphins and small whales hunted every year

When you hear the words ‘dolphin hunts’ it’s likely that you think of Japan or...

Japan set to resume commercial whaling

Reports from Japan suggest that the government they will formally propose plans to resume commercial...

End the whale hunts! Icelandic fin whaler isolated as public mood shifts

Here’s a sight I hoped never again to witness. A boat being scrubbed and repainted...

Australian Government to block Japanese whaling proposal

Japanese Government officials have reportedly confirmed that they will propose the resumption of commercial whaling...

Pregnant whales once again a target for Japanese whalers

Figures from Japan's whaling expedition to Antarctica during the 2017/18 austral summer have revealed that...

Did Icelandic whalers really kill a blue whale?

*Warning - this blog contains an image that you may find upsetting* They say a...

Icelandic whalers breach international law and kill iconic, protected whale by mistake

Icelandic whalers out hunting fin whales for the first time in three years appear to...

Doubts remain after Icelandic Marine Institute claims slaughtered whale was a hybrid not a blue

Experts remain sceptical of initial test results issued by the Icelandic Marine Institute, which indicate...

Norway's whaling season begins

April 1st saw the start of the whaling season in Norway. Despite a widely-accepted international moratorium...

Norway increases whaling quota despite declining demand

Norway's government has announced an increase in the number of minke whales that can be...

Icelandic fin whale hunting to resume

Iceland’s only fin whaling company, Hvalur hf,  announced today that it will resume fin whaling...

Meeting the challenge of reducing plastic waste at the Scottish Dolphin Centre

Emily Burton, one of our fantastic volunteers at the Scottish Dolphin Centre, gives an update on the Scottish Dolphin Centre’s efforts to reduce its plastic waste.

12.7 million tons of plastic is dumped into the sea each year. That’s the equivalent of a full bin lorry every single minute. Greenpeace

This is one of many shocking facts that inspired us to try life without plastic over the past week. As interns for WDC working up at the Scottish Dolphin Centre we already considered ourselves pretty passionate about marine pollution, but it wasn’t until we watched ‘A Plastic Ocean’ that the severity of the situation really hit home. Since then, we’ve been trying to cut down the plastics we use and buy, especially focusing on single use plastics like wrappers, bags and other packaging. Some swaps were easy, some took a little more thought, and at first some seemed nearly impossible…but where there’s a will there’s a way!

Here are some of our top tips on how we managed to cut down on plastic over the past week:

Easy swaps: We managed to massively reduce the amount of plastic we bought simply by swapping to tinned goods therefore avoiding hard plastic packaging and bottles. If you can’t avoid plastic bulk buy and go for recyclable packaging where possible.  

Natural packaging:  The majority of fruit and veg grows complete with its own wrapper. Boycott wrapped potatoes, bananas, apples and the rest by taking your own canvas or paper bags to the super market and choosing loose items. Another great option, especially if you’re a lover of seasonal organic produce, is to order a weekly ‘veg box’ – just send them an email or give them a ring beforehand to make sure the food will be delivered without plastic packaging. For berries, which are pretty impossible from a supermarket, try visiting a ‘pick-your-own’ or a farm shop.

 

Tit-bits and treats:  We were pleasantly surprised at the number of sweets and treats available plastic free. It took some initial investigating to work out which products come plastic wrapped and which are packaged in foil or paper, but after a peek around our local super market we began to get to grips with it. Many bars of chocolate and individual tubes of sweets like polos, smarties and fruit pastels come in cardboard, paper or foil packaging. We also found some alternatives that, although still used plastic tubs, cut out the non-recyclable packets that chocolate and sweets are usually wrapped in.

We made sure to avoid chewing gum, which is made of plastic, and bought mints instead.

Basics: It’s definitely not impossible to get pasta and rice plastic free. In fact, we managed to find both packed in cardboard boxes rather than plastic bags. It’s a shame that some boxes still contained a small plastic window; however this still marks a vast improvement on the normal quantity used.

Bread has the potential to be a little tricky depending in which supermarket you favour. In some you can easily pick up freshly baked bread in a paper bag but in others the bakery aisle is plastic city. A great way to buy plastic free and support small local businesses is to visit your local bakery! Here you’ll find a variety of freshly baked bread and you can take along your own bag. We also had a go at making our own bread!

Liquids: Fruit juice and milk were two things that challenged us a little. We ended up going for recyclable plastic bottles looking out for paper labels. We also found fizzy drinks, cordial and condiments in glass bottles with metal lids.

Meat and fish: A local butcher or fishmonger is definitely the place to visit to avoid plastic packed meat. Take along your own Tupperware or container and ask for the meat to be transferred directly into that. Depending on which shop you visit there may be some difficulty with hygiene regulations but the great thing about chatting to someone directly is that they can usually sort something out for you. Another option is to visit the freezer section of the supermarket. There are quite a few options, especially vegetarian meat replacements and fish, which come in cardboard boxes alone (although the fish itself may contain plastic!).  

The last week has been a real eye-opener for us. The more we think about plastic, the more we find out and share. It would now be impossible for us to forget about the plastic problem after only a week. To spend a little more carefully, think a little harder, and speak a little louder is surely the very least we can do for the sake of our oceans and the magnificent creatures that live there.

 “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” – Jalaluddin Rumi

We’re still looking for plastic free alternatives for:

  • Yoghurt
  • Spinach
  • Cucumber
  • Cheese and cheese alternatives
  • Breakfast cereal

Please leave any suggestions or tips of your own in the comments below.

Find out more on our new website about the issue of plastic waste in our oceans and why it’s #NotWhaleFood.