Big problems need big strategic thinking. At City to Sea, we’re focused on tackling the worst offenders – stopping them at source, so our beaches and rivers won’t need to be cleaned in the future.

Single-use plastic items are among the items most commonly found on beaches and represent an estimated 50% of marine litter. By tackling each of the worst offending items, providing practical solutions and championing reuse over single-use, we’re creating a future where our beaches will free of pointless plastic and strewn with sticks, stones and seaweed instead. Who’s with us?

THE Single-use plastic MOST found ON OUR BEACHES

Beach clean data from across the UK (collected by the incredible Marine Conservation Society and their army of volunteers), Europe and from around the world reveals the same patterns and the same items cropping up time and time again.

1. Plastic bottles and lids
2. Cigarette butts
3. Cotton bud sticks
4. Crisp packets and sweet wrappers
5. Period products
6. Plastic bags
7. Plastic cutlery and straws
8. Coffee cups and drinks containers
9. Balloons
10. Food containers and fast food packaging

Single-use plastic products such as plastic cutlery, drink bottles, food wrappers and cigarette butts make up almost half of all sea litter! Flushed plastic such as wet wipes, menstrual products and cotton buds are also a massive issue. We’re literally flushing the health of our oceans down the pan. Read more about Unflushables and how to be a good a**hole.

MOST And the items found in our rivers

The vast majority of plastics that end up in the world’s oceans are carried there by rivers. From plastic bottles to cotton bud sticks, it’s clear that there is a big overlap with the plastic in our oceans washing up on our beaches with those found in our freshwater rivers.

Earth Watch’s River Report revealed the most commonly found plastic items found in rivers across the UK – and guess what? Plastic bottles were number one. Find out how we’re tackling the plastic bottle problem with our Refill campaign.


Find out more about how our award-winning campaigns are stopping the worst offending single-use plastics at source.


Tackling plastic bottles with our Refill campaign.


Our Switch the Stick campaign urged retailers to switch to paper cotton bud sticks.

Stop PPE plastic pollution

The global coronavirus pandemic has created a new problem – the littering of personal protective equipment (PPE).


We’re challenging what people do with wet wipes and find solutions to alternative with this campaign. 

Plastic-free periods

We’ve been lifting the lid on the hidden plastic in period products and finding reusable solutions. 

The Rise of Reusables

Our expanded Refill campaign lets people find places to use their reusables tackling food containers and hot drinks.

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