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It is estimated that about 50% of plastic products are designed to be used once and thrown away. Have a look around you now. What can you see? A plastic bottle? Plastic packaging?

Many disposables end up in general waste instead of being recycled - especially when we are out and about. Not only is this a huge waste of resources, but it also has real impact on the environment.

The impact of plastics

Single-use plastics pollute the land and often end up in our waterways and seas. They can take a long time to break down, and when they do they leave chemicals and toxic particles (microplastics) that enter our food chain.

What we can do?

Try to avoid single use plastics, instead use reusable alternatives. Remember to recycle what you can. Switching to a reusable water bottle saves money, buying one bottle a week could add up to over £100 a year and it reduces plastic waste.

Many businesses have signed up for apps that encourage reuse and plastic-free shopping. For example, the Refill app shows you where to find businesses that offer free water refill stations for residents who bring a refillable bottle, without the need to buy anything. It also shows where to find businesses that offer discounts for bringing your own cup, where you can use your own lunchbox, and the location of refill shops for plastic-free shopping.

Use the USELESS map to find local stores where you can buy plastic-free alternatives to everyday single-use plastic items.