Each year over 400 million tonnes of plastic is produced, the majority of which is designed to be single-use only. These disposable plastics add to the growing amount of inorganic waste in our landfills and oceans, disrupting ecosystems, harming wildlife and polluting our planet.

Beyond the environmental cost, plastic can be a hazard to our health, as many contain harmful chemicals and the material can even find its way into the food and water we consume (in the form of microplastics).

The theme of World Environment Day 2023 (WED) is all about raising awareness of plastic pollution and highlighting solutions to this global ecological issue. An initiative of the United Nation’s Environment Programme, WED kicks off today in Côte d’Ivoire, who are playing host to the annual event- now in its 50th year. Whilst millions around the world will celebrate and participate in global WED events, leaders and environmental advocates will also gather in the host city to discuss local and international efforts to reduce plastic pollution at scale.

We must work as one, governments, companies and consumers alike, to break our addiction to plastics, champion zero waste and build a truly circular economy,

António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General

How to help this World Environment Day

The good news is that there’s plenty of ways to get involved. The easiest way is to spread awareness of World Environment Day on social media through the hashtag #BeatPlasticPollution. You can also join the millions of people all around the world who are actively participating by registering for or attending a local event.

Not sure where to start? Jump over to the official World Environment Day website to read all about different solutions that can be used to help win the fight against plastic pollution. From important government initiatives to better business processes and practical, everyday steps for communities and individuals, there’s a part for all of us to play in ending the harmful impact of plastic on our planet.

Here’s five easy steps you can take to help reduce your plastic use each day:

  • Bring reusable bags when shopping and to the grocery store
  • Choose plastic-free or sustainable home and personal care items
  • Join a local volunteer clean-up group
  • Invest in reusable water bottles and coffee cups
  • Talk to your colleagues, friends and family about ways you can reduce plastic together
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