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WE DID IT! All major UK retailers have agreed to ‘Switch the Stick’ from plastic to paper! Read more …

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Video evidence of the issue we’re facing in Bristol.

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ALL Major UK Retailers Pledge to 'Switch the Stick' to Stop Source of Plastic Pollution

All major UK retailers have agreed to phase out plastic cotton buds by the end of 2017 following concern over the number that are ending up on our beaches.

City to Sea, alongside Scottish charity Fidra, have been calling for retailers to phase out plastic-stemmed cotton and switch to paper to cut down the amount of plastic ending up on our beaches and in our rivers. City to Sea's 'Switch the Stick' campaign has also been supported by over 155,000 members of 38 Degrees. To the delight of all, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Aldi, Morrisons, Lidl, BootsUK, Superdrug and Wilko have communicated their commitment to ensure their own label cotton bud products will be made with paper stems by the end of 2017.

A Tesco’s spokesperson commented: “We’re committed to ensuring all of our own label cotton bud products will be made with paper stems, and will do this by the end of 2017.”

Similarly, a Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We have been working hard to improve this product. Our new cotton buds, with 100% biodegradable stems, will be available before the end of 2017.”

An Asda spokesperson said: “This is an area where we’re working hard to make a difference and we’re pleased to confirm that all our own brand cotton buds products will be made with paper stems by 2017.”

And an Aldi spokesperson said: "As a responsible retailer, we are committed to removing plastic from our cotton buds by the end of 2017.”

Natalie Fee, City to Sea founder: “We’re delighted with the commitment from so many major supermarkets to ‘Switch the Stick’ from plastic to paper stem buds. Whilst they still shouldn’t be flushed, this move will stop millions of plastic stems ending up in the marine environment each year and is a huge win in the fight against marine plastic pollution.”

Dr Clare Cavers, Research Officer from Fidra's Cotton Bud Project: “Johnson & Johnson and Waitrose pledged to change to paper cotton buds in Spring this year, and we are very pleased to see other retailers following their lead. Plastic pollution in our seas is a major problem, so by making this positive change, we are a step closer to cleaner oceans.”

Cotton buds collected along the River Avon, Bristol. © City to Sea

Cotton buds collected along the River Avon, Bristol. © City to Sea

Plastic cotton bud stems are the number one item of plastic, sewage-related debris on our beaches and rivers [1] – yet UK retailers can help prevent this by switching the stick from plastic to paper – and over 155,000 people have shown their support to the cause by signing up to City to Sea's campaign on the 38 Degrees website.

In the marine environment, plastics can be eaten by marine life, often with fatal consequences. Plastic is found in the stomachs of Loggerhead Turtles, seabirds and many species of UK-caught fish. And pieces that don't get eaten break down into micro-plastics, forming part of a dangerous plastic smog in our seas.

The 38 Degrees petition has received over 155,000 signatures in support of the City to Sea campaign.

Trish Murray, campaigner at 38 Degrees, added: “The public’s overwhelming support for this campaign shows that there is a real desire for retailers to provide environmentally sound alternatives.’

It’s great news that six supermarkets in the UK have made a commitment this week following Natalie’s campaign and the support of thousands of 38 Degrees members. The huge petition has sent a clear message to all shops - customers expect them to switch to paper cotton buds to protect our wildlife and our seas.”

City to Sea's 'Fish & Sticks'

© City to Sea

[1] Beachwatch Report 2015, Marine Conservation Society

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Solutions to Plastic Pollution at the Festival of Nature!

After months of planning and the generous support of Natracare, it was great to finally  set up at the Festival of Nature, meet the lovely attendees a20160612_144507nd engage them with the problems and practical solutions of plastic marine plastic.

Alby the Albatross proved a real eye-catcher as children discovered what she had been eating for dinner. 'What's not yummy in the Albatross' tummy?' - you guessed it - bottle top lids and lighters.

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Spark Something Good

We at City to Sea were delighted to be one of the organisations selected for the Bristol Spark Something Good week. Eight Marks & Spencer stores from Weston to Yate took part in Spark Something Good, which saw 300 volunteers give up over 2,000 hours for free, in order to make a positive difference.

Director of Plan A at Marks & Spencer, Mike Barry commented: “There’s a tremendous sense of camaraderie when people come together to give something back to their local community and that’s exactly what Spark Something Good is all about. I’m thrilled that Bristol has embraced our initiative in this way and got stuck in, and I’m proud to have played a small part.”

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City to Sea at the Bristol Festival of Nature

We’re curating part of the Ocean area at this year's Bristol Festival of Nature from the 11-12th June! We'll have interactive installations and be running solutions-focused workshops highlighting the problems with plastic getting into our rivers and oceans.

BFN2013 A4 Poster-2.indd

The City to Sea area has been created thanks to the support of Natracare who are also providing free samples for us to give away as well as products to sell in our solutions shop.

We’ll also be demonstrating how to shop plastic-free with our 'scoop shop' thanks to Essential Trading who are supplying a load of loose products for hungry festival-goers to buy! We'll also have Elephant Box lunch tins on sale as well as other reusable, non-plastic products. To entertain the kids there’ll be a fun ‘treasure trail’ to do around the whole festival with prizes to be won. Come and say hello!

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8 million tonnes in the Ocean? NHS using 8 million plastic bags a year!

Did you know that more than 8,320,000 single use plastic bags are about to be used every year by your NHS? Sign the petition and help stop this going through!

This is how NHS England see the future - single use plastic bags. And it looks like we have no choice in the matter. Our paper notes will be transferred between GP practices using over 160,000 single use plastic bags every week.

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