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Plastic Free July: Brilliant UK Charities Tackling Plastic Pollution

Plastic Free July Blog Post - Turtle

Every July, millions of people around the world come together for Plastic Free July - joining together to find ways as a community and as individuals to reduce the use of single-use plastic.

Plastic Free July was started 10 years ago in 2011 in Western Australia by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz who after visiting her local waste sorting facility realised she needed to reduce the huge amount of plastic she threw into the recycling bin.

The point of Plastic Free July is not to talk about the problem and focus on the issues but to highlight positive ways to solve it.

Eight of the Best Charities Fighting The War On Plastic Pollution

In this blog post, we highlight some of the brilliant environmental charities taking action to tackle plastic pollution in the ocean and its impact on the environment.

These are charities that have the knowledge and expertise to bring the change needed to rescue the oceans. Through their ongoing research, educational programmes and lobbying of governments to their local animal rescues and beach cleans - these charities are vital in stopping plastic choking our oceans.

One of the most positive and impactful ways people can take action to stop plastic pollution is to support and raise awareness of these charities, whether that is as an individual or through a small business. Everyone can do their bit.

Surfers Against Sewage

Surfers Against Sewage is a trailblazer in the UK campaign to eliminate plastic pollution.

The local grassroots charity started in 1990 as a response by the UK surfing community to the dreadful state of UK beaches. Since then the charity has created a nationwide network of ocean activists to take action from the beach front to the front benches of Parliament.

Their top priority right now is plastic waste or 'new sewage' covering beaches and oceans, keeping those beautiful ecosystems from thriving.

Surfers Against Sewage have achieved some incredible things since their launch including creating a nationwide ‘Plastic Free Schools’ program.

The charity is also a founding member of Break the Bag Habit Coalition which campaigned for the government to introduce a 5p charge on single-use carrier bags back in 2015.

Just One Ocean

Saving the planet is not a competition, but a collaboration."

Just One Ocean is a small conservation charity founded by David Jones, a diver and underwater photographer, who saw for himself the harmful impact of plastic and other forms of pollution on our environment.

Through science, education, and communication. Just One Ocean is dedicated to preserving the ocean for generations to come. As an action-orientated conservation charity, Just One Ocean supports various initiatives to protect the ocean. From developing their own ideas and scientific research projects to getting behind other projects, because they believe that saving the planet is not a competition, but a collaboration.

Plastic Free July - Dolphins

Marine Conservation Society

Marine Conservation Society has been the voice for the sea for over 30 years and know that the fight for a cleaner, more protected, and healthier ocean means fighting for plastic-free seas that everyone can enjoy.

One of their current campaigns is #StopOceanThread - a campaign to get all washing machine manufacturers to fit microfibre filters to all new machines by 2023. These filters would stop microplastics reaching our seas.

The charity also has a useful ‘Good Fish Guide’ which informs the public about which fish comes from sustainably managed stocks and is caught or farmed in a way that causes minimal damage to the marine environment and other wildlife.

Water Smart Foundation

Water Smart Foundation focuses on the reduction of global pollution caused by current methods of production and distribution of water. They raise awareness for ocean issues such as plastic pollution and empower individuals to make conscious decisions about personal plastic use.

For maximum impact they work with key sectors, institutions, organisations, and individuals to rethink and rework the way water is distributed and advise on how to do business more sustainably, so they can become more water smart.


Plastic pollution has stark health impacts on the world’s poorest people"

1 in 3 people worldwide are forced to dump or burn their waste, causing disease, polluting the oceans, and contributing to the global crisis. WasteAid helps some of the poorest communities manage their waste in a sustainable way that will not harm the environment nor the people surrounding it. They develop waste management and recycling programs to build a cleaner and healthier future. Creating jobs and a safer, healthier community.

Plastic pollution in the marine environment is a top priority for WasteAid. They work with upstream and coastal communities to set up recycling centres and prevent plastic from reaching rivers and the oceans.

Plastic Free July - Beach

Whale and Dolphin Conservation

The Whale and Dolphin Conservation is a global charity whose vision is a 'world where every whale and dolphin is safe and free'.

A key part of their work is to create clean and healthy seas, which means preventing and reducing the many ocean pollutants, a significant one being plastic.

Keeping oceans clean so dolphins and whales can thrive and be happy is vital as they play an important role in the marine ecosystem and are therefore essential in fighting the climate crisis. Whales in particular stabilise the offset of carbon in the atmosphere, providing a healthier environment for oceans but also for humans.

Whale poop feeds phytoplankton, the tiny marine algae that produce more than half of the world’s oxygen.

Plastic Free July - whales

Friends of the Earth

Friends of the Earth is one of the largest environmental campaigning communities in the UK. As well as leading campaigns to change legislation, they provide resources and information, and develop real solutions to issues impacting the environment.

One area they focus on is stopping plastic pollution and reducing the use of plastic.

Recently, together with the Women’s Institute, they launched a piece of legislation called the Plastic Pollution Bill. The Bill calls for the government to commit to phasing out plastic pollution. And asks for a commitment by the UK government to stop the flow of plastic into our waterways and oceans.

The Galapagos Conservation Trust

The Galapagos Conservation Trust is the only UK charity working solely for the conservation of the rich and diverse wildlife found on the Galapagos Islands which were the first ever UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the inspiration for Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution.

According to the charities website 'plastic pollution is an increasing problem for the Islands with at least 18 different species in the Galapagos Islands, including turtles, marine iguanas, and sea lions being recorded entangled by plastic such as bags and lines, or having ingested it after mistaking it for food.'

The charity tackles issues like this by partnering with Ecuadorian authorities, NGOs, local communities, and leading researchers both in Galapagos and the UK to support impactful science and conservation programs. As well as delivering education and community outreach across the Archipelago. One of the ways they are tackling the problem with plastic is by working with local young people.

Plastic Free July - Galapagos Tortoise

Discover how simple and easy it is for small businesses to fundraise for these charities by visiting the Work for Good website.

Help to fight plastic pollution, protect our ecosystems, our beautiful oceans and make a positive difference in the world.