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Plastic over concern prompts ‘Single-use’ to be the 2018 Word of the Year (2017 Word of the Year was ‘fake news’)

By Madeleine Cuff

Collins Dictionary names ‘single-use’ the 2018 Word of the Year in recognition of spike in public concern over plastic pollution

The term ‘single-use’ has been crowned the 2018 Word of the Year by the Collins Dictionary, following the stunning rise in public concern over the environmental impact of throwaway plastics over the last 12 months.

Announcing its decision today, Collins said usage of the term has grown four-fold since 2013, thanks to increased news and broadcast coverage of the environmental impact of single-use products and packaging.

“From plastic bags, bottles and straws to washable nappies, we have become more conscious of how our habits and behaviours can impact the environment,” Collins said in a blog postannouncing its decision.

“Our records show a four-fold increase in usage of this word since 2013, with news stories and the likes of the BBC’s Blue Planet IIraising public awareness of this environmental issue.”

In response to the rising concern, 2018 has seen huge numbers of businesses pledging to phase out single-use plastics from their operations, while the UK and EU government are preparing to ban plastic straws, cotton buds, and other single-use plastics.

Alongside ‘flossing‘ and ‘gammon‘, the term ‘plogging’ also made the 2018 Word of the Year shortlist. It describes a Swedish activity which involves going for a run and picking up litter at the same time, which Collins said is “becoming a global trend”.

The 2017 Word of the Year was ‘fake news’.