Now is the time to drop the plastic – and campaigners are here to help.

Litter Free Coast and Sea – the campaign to reduce litter in Dorset and east Devon – is working with Dorset Food & Drink and The Arts Development Company, through the Dorset Coastal Connections Project, on the Plastics Surgery campaign to help businesses reduce damaging single use packaging.

This in turn will help reduce the amount of food and drink packaging that ends up on beaches and in the sea.

Single-use plastics or disposable plastics are intended to be used only once before they are thrown away or recycled.

Litter Free Coast and Sea has now created a resources page on its website.

The page consists of inspirational tips, case studies and a breakdown of all the options facing businesses when it comes to packaging solutions, following the guidelines of the Waste Hierarchy – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle/Compost, Recover energy, Disposal.

Dorset has some of the best beaches and bathing waters in the country. Much of the litter that found on our beaches is single use food and drinks packaging.

Single-use plastics, or disposable plastics can cause the biggest issue to the marine environment because plastics never degrade, they eventually become micro plastics which then can be ingested and enter the food chain.

Matilda Manley, Project Co-ordinator for Litter Free Coast and Sea said: "When it comes to packaging, it can be a bit of a minefield and can be very confusing to determine which type is best for your business, as well as the environment.

"The best option on paper might not be in practice if the packaging cannot be collected and processed as it was designed to be. We don’t pretend to be experts, but we have lots of information and hope that the webpage we have put together is useful for local businesses who might be daunted or confused about the best option for them."

There is a space on the webpage for local businesses to stay involved in the Plastics Surgeries Campaign. The webpage also has a link to a Facebook group that has been set up for businesses to share their experiences of making the switch and helping each other out.

The team will be commissioning an artist for 2019 that will celebrate local businesses that have made a positive packaging switch.

To find out more about the Plastic Surgery campaign, whether to look at the resources page or connect with Litter Free Coast and Sea, head over to the resources page -