Turning The Tide On Plastic

Cornwall-based writer, campaigner and surfer, Martin Dorey, has built on the global success of his hashtag, #2minutebeachclean, with his new book (No. More. Plastic) about how and why we all need to eliminate plastic from our lives.

By Jonathan Manning
Published 8 Jun 2018, 17:44 BST
Pinhole Sands Cornwall
As a surfer, Martin Dorey, has spent a lifetime on the beach and witnessed just how big an impact seaborne plastic has on the environment. It inspired his #2minutebeachclean campaign.

What prompted you to write No. More. Plastic?

It’s the cumulation of a lifetime on the beach and more than 10 years of picking up seaborne plastic litter. The simple idea of picking up litter for just 2 minutes moved thousands around the world to get stuck in. We all have the power to change the world, small actions add up and every change we make matters.

Why is the anti-plastic campaign gaining such traction?

In the last seven months since the BBC’s Blue Planet 2 there has been an incredible acceleration in awareness of the plastic problem, and suddenly people are going, ‘actually, the way I’m living is having a devastating effect on the ocean’.

Every piece of plastic that you do not use or refuse is a piece that is not going to end up in a video with a turtle or a seahorse.

How can you persuade individuals that their actions count in the face of mass industrial plastic pollution?

We have been banging the drum about personal responsibility for a long time; every piece of plastic makes a difference. In our beach clean up seven of the 15 most found items in our beach clean ups weren’t industrial: bottle tops, drinks bottles, straws and cutlery, crisp packets, sweet wrappers, earbuds, bags and wet wipes. Those seven items make up one-third of the items we pick up on the beach, so if we stop buying those things we stop that plastic ending up in the ocean.

Aren’t our lives so entwined in plastic that there’s no way out?

You’re right, we are so used to accepting plastic in our lives without thinking. It’s become normal for everything to be packaged in plastic. And yet each piece of plastic we throw away will not go away. The world has been revolving around us and our convenience and we need to think about the planet a bit more.


Cornwall-based surfer, Martin Dorey, has campaigned to clean up UK beaches and help people reduce their use of single-use plastic.

What kind of personal ‘sacrifices’ will we have to make to live in a plastic-lite world?

There has to be a shift between our personal convenience and having a plastic-free planet. Teabags, for example, contain plastic and it’s a pain to use leaf tea, but I manage to do it. We are going to have to put ourselves out, but the ramifications will be greater than your discomfort. If you have a conscience and care for the natural world you have to do it.

What type of actions can we take?

Spend a couple of minutes going through your supermarket shop. Look at the packaging. If it says ‘cannot currently be recycled’, don’t buy it again. When I go to the supermarket, if they’ve run out of loose tomatoes I’ll ask the store manager for loose tomatoes because I don’t want to buy them wrapped in plastic. It’s these sort of simple things that we should all be doing that will make a difference.

If we stop buying plastic, the producer will have to change or go out of business. Vote with your wallet.

At the very least use your own coffee cup for takeaway coffees, it’s such a small lifestyle change.

How do we persuade politicians to take this seriously?

Governments do what’s popular, so we need to make anti-plastic popular and then politicians will follow us.


No. More. Plastic. by Martin Dorey,


Dorey's book encourages us to find ways to stop using plastic and find more ways of living a more sustainable lifestyle.
Read More

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