Many people are already aware that Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSBs), which include fizzy drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, flavoured waters, and sweetened tea/coffee, are bad for our health. But what are they doing to the planet? Brits consume an average of 2 litres of soft drinks per week which amounts to around 63 grams of sugar per day! As well as the impact on our teeth, weight and general health, this overconsumption is having a big impact on the environment.

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Sugary drinks are a danger to our health and our planet

  • The average person in the UK uses 175 plastic bottles every year of sweetened still and fizzy drinks
  • Overall, 61% of UK plastic waste is exported overseas! This is a lot more than we recycle here (around 50%)
  • Plastic bottles can end up in oceans, landfill, or rivers
  • This plastic requires at least 450 years to degrade completely. In the process of decomposition, the microplastic will be dissolved into water and damage sea life heavily for a long time.
  • According to action group, Sustain, plastic production is expected to account for 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 if consumption trends continue
  • As well as the plastic problem, it takes a lot of water to create these sugary drinks which also has an environmental impact in terms of carbon footprint.
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What can we do to reverse this trend?

The climate problem isn’t something that will go away on its own. We can all play a part in helping to reduce our impact on the environment, however small. Let’s start with the 3 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!


One simple thing we can do is to stop buying and drinking as many fizzy drinks in plastic bottles. If you’re used to having your regular fix you could switch to diet varieties to reduce your sugar intake. Setting yourself small goals like only having soft drinks at the weekend can help you gradually cut down.


Carry your own reusable bottle around. This refill app is free to download – – and shows you where to refill your water bottle in your local town or public spaces. You could also invest in a soda stream so you can recreate your own fizzy drinks from regular tap water. This will reduce your impact on the environment while also helping you to cut down on sugar as you can mix reduced-sugar cordial with water to achieve a similar effect.

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In the UK, 43% of soft drink bottles are made from single-use plastic that ends up in landfill. If you can’t give up your favourite soft drink, try switching to cans or glass bottles instead of plastic as these are easily recyclable. Some companies still offer a return scheme for glass bottles – especially milk suppliers – so check what’s available in your area.

It seems like cutting down (or dare we say, giving up) on sugary drinks is a win-win! You could help to look after your teeth and your health while doing your bit for the environment.

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You can get tips for cutting down on sugar on our website. If this is a subject that interests you, check out these articles:

UK Household Plastic Survey -

Reducing single use plastic bottles - Mayor of London