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Plastic pollution

The complexity, scale and urgency of the plastics challenge means it's something we must tackle together.

Our Plastics programme offers practical, evidence-based steps to tackle plastic pollution, so that everyone can be part of the solution.

What we're doing

Microplastics

We’re working with businesses to explore solutions to microplastics pollution

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Freshwater plastics pollution

Want to make a difference where you live? Up to 80% of marine plastic pollution comes from rivers. Download our guide to the 10 biggest causes of freshwater pollution, and what you can do to stem the flow. 

Download the guide

The problem with plastic

8bn

Since the 1950s, we've produced over eight billion tonnes of plastic. Most of it isn't recycled, and around 32% pollutes the natural environment.

8m

Every year, eight million tonnes of plastic ends up in the sea — the equivalent of dumping a rubbish truck full of plastic into the ocean every minute.

x2

Our use of plastic is expected to double in the next 20 years. By 2050, the amount of plastic in the ocean could weigh more than all the fish.

450

A plastic bottle can last for 450 years at sea, eventually breaking down into microscopic pieces that never truly go away.

GET INSPIRED

The ocean ambassador

For Emily Penn, researching the damage plastic is doing to our oceans involves a 3,000-mile voyage. But making a difference doesn't have to be so challenging.

Read more

Your views on plastic

In April 2018, we asked what you think about the issues around plastic waste and pollution, and the actions you'd be interested in taking to tackle these issues. Hundreds of you responded to our survey and these are the results.

    Contact us

    We want to build collaboration and conversation across sectors to shape our investment and develop pioneering interventions. If you're interested in working with us, we'd love to hear from you.

    Gitte Kragh

    Senior Research Manager

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    Ed Nemeshanyi

    Corporate Development Manager

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    Debbie Winton

    Project Manager

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    Steven Loiselle

    Senior Research Manager

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    Images: iStock/barbaraaaa, John Hunt, iStock/artisteer, iStock/vchal, eXXpedition

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    Earthwatch Institute (Europe) is a registered charity in England and Wales, no. 1094467.
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