According to the Marine Conservation Society – who have been gathering beach clean data in the UK for more than 10 years – 8.5% of all the plastic found on our beaches is coming directly from our toilets. We are literally flushing the health of the oceans down the pan.
The toilet is not a bin! Most of our sewers were built in the Victorian era – we didn’t even use toilet paper back then, let alone plastic products that can block our sewers and then overflow into our homes, our streets and our waterways. This flushed pollution primarily consists of ‘the Dirty Dozen’ – cotton buds, baby wipes, household cleaning wipes, tampons, tampon applicators, facial wipes, cleansing pads, cigarettes, plasters, nappies and menstrual pads and cotton wool. Of the dirty dozen, 11 usually contain plastic and will take 100’s of years to biodegrade.
Only flush poo, paper & pee – plastics don’t belong in the sea!
This year we launched our 3Ps campaign to ‘keep our seas plastic-free, by only flushing (toilet) paper, poo and pee!’ and help get the message out across the UK – our toilets are not bins and ONLY the 3Ps (pee, paper and poo) should go down the loo.
We’re launching a pilot scheme with Anglian Water and hope to roll the campaign out across the UK. Rachel Dyson, Keep it Clear Behavioural Change Manager, Anglian Water said:
“In the Anglian Water region we deal with 40,000 sewer blockages a year, that’s one every five minutes. 80% of those blockages are caused by items that should never be flushed, wipes and other bathroom waste. Even the products that are labelled ‘flushable’ do not disintegrate like toilet paper. It is sad to think billions of people in the world still do not have access to their own toilet and safely managed sanitation, yet here in the UK and other countries we abuse our toilets and treat them as bins”.
How can you help?
- To help keep our seas plastic-free, only flush the 3P’s – paper, poo and pee! EVERYTHING else goes in the bin.
- Put an extra bin in your bathroom so that binning is just as easy as flushing. If you have space why not have a little bin for recycling too!
- Put one of our 3Ps stickers up in the bathroom at your workplace.
- Find out how to have zero-waste, Plastic-Free Period – better for your health, for your wallet and for the ocean.
- Buy cotton buds with paper stems rather than plastic. Find out how we’ve been campaigning for UK the retailers to ‘switch the stick.’
- Ditch single use wipes and give reusable make-up wipes, cleansing pads and nappies a try!