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Average UK Bathroom produces over 1 MILLION kgs of single-use plastic

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reusable containers and crumpled bottle with kitchen utensils

recent study by sustainable online subscription platform Bower Collective has uncovered the amount of single-use plastic produced by the average UK home, broken down by each room/area – and shows that your bathroom is responsible for 2/3rds of your single-use plastic waste.

  • A 2-person household goes through 1438 single use plastic-products per year (or 120 per month)
  • UK households use 1.54 million kgs of non-food related single use plastic every year (the same weight as 1,160 Mini Coopers!)
  • Terrible trio: toilet cleaner, hand-wash and sanitary pads alone produce 23% of the home’s plastic waste
  • 1 person produces 24.25kg of single-use plastic waste per year (that’s almost a third of the average Briton’s bodyweight)

Despite the plastic-waste emergency, the world produces 381 million tonnes in plastic waste yearly – a figure set to double by 2034. Even if Brits are vigilant at rinsing and recycling their plastic waste, less than 10% of UK single-use plastic that makes it to the recycling bin is genuinely recycled.

Bower Collective, an award-winning sustainable online subscription platform, have released a comprehensive breakdown of single-use plastic hotspots in the UK home, room by room, shelf by shelf, to help the UK consumer take manageable steps to reduce their impact one product at a time.

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The top offenders in the home

Just 10 products in the home account for half of the home’s single-use plastic waste – and all of these items can be found in the bathroom.

RankProductAnnual avg. waste (kg)
based on 2 person household
% out of the whole house
1Toilet Cleaner5.1 kg10.5
2Hand wash3.2 kg6.8
3Sanitary Pads2.7 kg5.5
4Hair Mask2.4 kg5
5Hair Gel/Wax2.4 kg5
6Deodorant2.3 kg4.8
7Tampons1.9 kg4.1
8Body Wash/Shower Gel1.8 kg3.8
9Conditioner1.6 kg3.2
10Toothpaste1.5 kg3


Most frequently bought products in a 2 person household

Some single-use products are bought, and thrown out, weekly. Parents will not be surprised that the most frequently purchased single-use product is baby & wet wipes. On average, this item is bought 52 times per year, on par with hand cream – a modern necessity now we are sanitising and washing our hands more regularly.

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Bathroom


The bathroom is responsible for 2/3rd of the households single-use plastic waste, more than any other room. In one year, this amounts to around 1 million kg of bathroom waste across all UK households.

Personal and feminine hygiene is the most polluting shelf in the bathroom, accounting for 31% of all bathroom waste. The other hotspots are hair care and grooming (which is responsible for 20%), the bath and shower tray (19%) and toilet maintenance (which for just the bathroom toilet alone is 13%).

The worst product in this room is toilet cleaner, which is responsible for 11% of one bathroom’s single-use plastic waste contribution. Sanitary pads amount to 9% of the bathroom’s contribution (or 2.7kg per household per year), and hair gel and hair wax are the next biggest offenders, with each one accounting for 8% of the bathroom’s contribution.

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Utility Room

The utility room beats the kitchen to the title of second most polluting area. Overall, cleaning and laundry products found here contribute to 8.1% of the entire household’s contribution.

The laundry shelf contributed to 33% of the room’s plastic-waste, leaving cleaning products responsible for 67% of the room’s waste.

The worst product in this room is fabric conditioner, which is responsible for 20% of the room’s single-use plastic waste contribution. Glass and mirror cleaner and surface sanitiser are the next biggest offenders, with each one accounting for 14%
each.

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Kitchen

Without taking food-packaging into account, the kitchen accounts for 7.7% of a home’s single-use plastic waste, or 124,141 kg. Of annual waste across all UK households.

Kitchen cleaning spray alone accounts for 22.5% of the kitchen’s output. More thorough hand washing also means more plastic waste, as 20% of all kitchen waste is from hand wash bottles, which equates annually to 25,524kg of UK wide waste.

The third most polluting bottle was hand lotion, which accounted for 16% of the room’s plastic output.

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Bedroom


The bedroom only accounts for a modest 5% of the home’s plastic waste contribution. Make-up independently accounts for 79% of the bedroom’s contribution, leaving ‘handbag items’ (hand gel and travel sized hand cream, to make up the rest).

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In a two-person household, you can expect to rack up around 1.9 kg. of makeup waste per year. The cosmetic having the most ugly impact is lipstick: which accounts for 23% of bedroom single-use plastic waste, and 29% of the makeup-bags. The next
biggest offender is Make-up setting spray, which when used regularly, accounts for just shy of 12% of the Bedroom’s plastic waste contribution.

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We know that the impact of single-use plastics is devastating: from the effect of plastic on marine life, to toxic landfill, carbon-polluting incineration and fatbergs.

Sometimes these issues can seem so overwhelming, that it’s hard to know where to start. By taking one big part of our everyday lives (our home) and tackling the issue room by room, shelf by shelf, we hope our ‘Sustainable House Tour’ empowers you to see how you can make a difference – on a more tangible scale.

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Environment

Cadle Heath is alive with the sound of critters

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From endangered bats to moths, beetles and unusual critters, a Swansea suburb is giving locals an opportunity to discover exactly what’s living on their doorstep.

The Cadle Heath BioBlitz event funded by the Swansea Nature Partnership on Saturday, May 14, is a day packed with scavenger hunts, guided walks, opportunities to learn about the wildflowers, bugs birds, reptiles and mammals and help to gather important nature data by recording the unusual species living in this urban heath.

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This nature reserve is one of Swansea’s best kept secrets and stretches from behind Swansea Community Farm on Carmarthen Road, to popular shopping-destination, Pontarddulais Road Retail Park.

The event, which is organised by Swansea Community Farm, South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre and Penderi Green Regeneration project, will take place between 10am and 3pm at the farm. Followed by a bat walk at 8.30pm, giving people the chance to listen for the elusive, red-listed, Lesser Horseshoe Bat in its natural habitat.

Kate McCabe from Pobl, leading on the Penderi Green Regeneration Project, said: “This is an exciting event for us. Cadle Heath is one of the best examples of urban heathland in the country and we are proud to have such a rich, exciting space for nature in the heart of Swansea’s Penderi region. The fact that the heath is home to a red-listed bat species is something we should be really proud of and something we should protect and celebrate.”

“Cadle is in such a highly populated part of Swansea that it is often overlooked, and people don’t often realise the hidden haven that exists for local wildlife. This family-friendly event will really bring the area to life, giving people a unique opportunity to really explore the area with the guidance of passionate scientists and nature experts.”

Katharine Aylett, from Swansea Community Farm, said: “We are proud to be hosting such an important and exciting event for the area, and to be partners of Pobl’s Penderi Green Regeneration Project. At Swansea Community Farm, we know the positive effect activities like this have on the community and local wildlife; it’s about raising awareness of the natural world and bringing people together, outdoors. 

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“The Penderi Green Regeneration Project itself, is vital to the area and is already having a clear impact on this part of Swansea. We’re looking forward to working with them on future events and initiatives.”

The Penderi Green Regeneration Project is an initiative to support local people in their desire to improve green spaces in their area which will help boost health and wellbeing. Through a series of physical and educational opportunities, the initiative will bring the wider neighbourhood together to regenerate green spaces in the Penderi area of Swansea.

Funded by UK Government, under the Community Renewal Fund (CRF), Pobl Group is able to deliver the Project with the help of key partners, Swansea Environment Centre, Room To Grow and the Conservation Team at Swansea Council.

For more information on the free event, visit: www.swanseacommunityfarm.org.uk

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Environment

First Minister celebrates 10 years of the Wales Coast Path

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The First Minister will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Wales Coast Path with a visit to meet volunteers and walkers.

A year long programme of events and activities celebrating the Wales Coast Path will take place throughout 2022, including walking festivals, virtual challenges and art installations.

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Since its opening in 2012, the Wales Coast Path has established itself as a beacon of our nation’s natural beauty.

The 870 mile path guides walkers along Wales’ picturesque coastline, weaving its way past a hundred beaches and sixteen castles.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The coastal path is one of the crowning glories of Wales and one of the proudest achievements of devolution.

“I would like to thank all those involved in the management of the path. Particularly the staff and volunteers, who are out in all weathers, working hard to maintain the path to such high standards.

“If I had to choose my favourite stretch of the path, the portion between Pendine and Amroth would be a candidate: starting in my own home county of Carmarthenshire, and ending in Pembrokeshire. It may not be the most well-known part of the path, but it offers huge variety: some challenging climbs, outstanding variety of flowers, secret coves and plenty of historical interest”.

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The Welsh Government will build on the successes of the first ten years so that more people are able to enjoy the path, from more backgrounds, more easily, and with more benefits for local communities, businesses and the environment.

The Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters MS, asked Huw Irranca-Davies, MS for Ogmore to undertake a review of the Wales Coast Path.

A small group, drawn from academia and the public, private and voluntary sectors was established to undertake the review.

The Group reflected on the key achievements over the last decade and identified how to maximise opportunities for the future.

Their report has been published on the Welsh Government website today (11 May).

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The review recognises the potential value and challenges of the Wales Coast Path. It contains 19 recommendations for the Welsh Government to consider when developing its future strategic approach to the path.

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Dyfed Powys Police

Man banned from driving for 12 months for fishing offence

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A man from Merthyr Tydfil who travelled to the River Loughor, near Llanelli to fish using a barbaric and illegal method, has been banned from driving for 12 months as part of his sentence.

Vu Quang Tien pleaded guilty to an illegal fishing charge and also to a charge of obstruction of a Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Fisheries Enforcement Officer on 26 April at Swansea Magistrates Court.

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Mr Tien and two other anglers were witnessed by NRW Fisheries Enforcement Officers deliberately using the illegal foul hooking method of fishing – also known as snatching – at the river Loughor on 15 August 2021. NRW officers attended the site after several reports of illegal fishing were made to NRW’s 24/7 incident call centre by concerned members of the community.

When approached and questioned by NRW officers, Mr Tien and his accomplices showed significant hostility and reluctance to share identification documents which eventually had to be extracted by use of reasonable force.

All of Mr Tien’s fishing tackle and fish, along with his associates’ fishing tackle was seized by NRW Officers at the time of the incident. The district judge on the day at Swansea Magistrates Court gave permission to NRW to confiscate these items permanently from each of them.

The District Judge disqualified Mr Tien from driving for 12 months due to seriousness of the incident, and the premeditated and deliberate action of travelling such a distance to commit the offence.

He was also ordered to pay a total of £2,334 in fines, NRW costs and a victim surcharge.

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Mark Thomas, Fisheries Enforcement Officer for NRW, said: “We would like to again thank Dyfed Powys Police, the local communities and also the law-abiding anglers in the area for their continued support in reporting these illegal fishing activities.

“Foul hooking is a truly barbaric form of fishing carried out by a small minority of anglers in Wales, who have no regard for fish welfare.

“NRW and the Police take these incidents seriously as do the courts.

“Hopefully, the small minority of anglers who may in future, think of using any illegal fishing methods will take heed of the heavy fines and driving ban in this case issued by the courts.”

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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