Take action

"We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a person changes their own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards them. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do."
– Mahatma Gandhi

Here's our guide to taking action on plastic pollution. We have modelled it on the 7 Rs of sustainability. Please contact us if there's something that you think we should add, we're open to suggestions.

1. Represent

Spread the word with friends, family, neighbours... Contact organisations, representatives and businesses.

  • Contact your MP. Ask them to implement the strong legislation that is needed. We have created a simple action with a template letter that you are welcome to use. There is further info in the government section and the library.
  • Share information with friends and family, such as this website. Encourage them to make changes.
  • Find a positive aspect to tackle plastic pollution such as creating a blog, making some art, handing out leaflets... The list's as long as your imagination.
  • Get involved with Plastic Free Swindon! There are many ways to do that. Please contact us if you're interested in participating.

2. Rethink

What plastic do you use? Do you need it? Are there alternatives?

3. Refuse

Refuse to buy products wrapped in and made from plastic.

    Support considerate businesses and products
  • Contact businesses to ask them if they will reduce their plastic use.
  • Boycott businesses who are unwilling to alter their plastic use.
  • Give companies their plastic back, as we did at Sainsbury's.

4. Reduce

Reduce packaging and products through a variety of means.

    Reduce packaging
  • Support the Refill scheme to reduce plastic water bottles.
  • Wiltshire Wildlife Trust's Real Nappy Network aims to help reduce the 8 million nappies that are thrown away each day. The scheme is good for the environment and good financially, with estimated savings of up to £500 per child.
  • Make your own products. There are a huge number of resources available on the internet.
  • Grow your own food. It requires no packaging. Fresh, local, organic food is beneficial in a great many respects. See the links section for related local groups.
  • Buy wholefoods. It often costs less and is healthier than processed foods.
    Buy good quality products designed to last.
  • Disreputable companies use built-in / planned obsolescence to reduce the lifespan of products and increase profits. Research companies and products well.
  • 'Programmed obsolescence is one of the malicious functionalities that may be designed into proprietary software. Computer technology inevitably has an environmental impact, but proprietary software makes it worse because it is often designed to lead or pressure users to discard devices sooner because support for them has ceased, or to discard defective hardware which could have been made repairable.'- The Free Software Foundation
  • Join or start a toy library. They can reduce our carbon footprints in many ways including a reduction in plastic. A toy libarary recently started in Wootton Bassett. They used to be more common; there used to be one at Eastcott Community Centre, for example.
  • Why buy when you can borrow? Introducing the Library of Things.
  • Lend to or borrow from a friend, family member, neighbour...

5. Repair

Many items can be repaired with a bit of tlc and know-how.

  • Repair Cafes have sprung up around the world in the last few years. Items are repaired for free with demonstrations so that people learn and pass on new skills. Swindon is blessed with a Repair Cafe and Free Shop, a very popular community event with local live music, food and a good atmosphere. Interestingly, the free shop in Swindon came about, in part, because of Food Not Bombs.
  • There are local craft groups to learn and hone skills such as Swindon Men's Shed, Knit and Natter and Swindon Big Knit.
  • Swindon Makerspace has excellent facilities to repair all kinds of items.
  • There are vast amount of online guides to repairing all kinds of items.

6. Reuse

Second hand, upcycling, art, imagination...

  • Join a local art group who reuse materials such as Artsite or Ipsum.
  • Make ecobricks, building blocks made from reused plastic-filled bottles.
  • There are a huge amount of online resources for upcycling all kinds of items. Pinterest, for example.

7. Recycle

If there's anything ot learn from the last 50 years is that a system of recycling plastic is a poor option! There are few plastics that can be recycled. Worldwide, only 9% has ever been 'recycled'. Of that 9%, it all eventually becomes waste. Plastic 'recycling' is better termed downcycling as it degrades each time it's processed. Don't fall for the recycling myth! Plastic 'recycling' continues to pollute our environment and us. It is not sustainable.


The name says it all. Natural materials break down, plastic doesn't, persisting in the environment and in organisms, including us. We need to do better. See the 'recycling' section of the library to understnad why recycling plastic is not the answer to plastic pollution problems. The way we end plastic pollution is by not creating plastic in the first place... back to action 1!

Have we missed any aspect or activity? Please let us know.