What's the dumbest use of plastic ever?
By BEL JACOBS
Last month, in Blue Planet II, the sight of a blue whale mourning its dead newborn, who had poisoned by plastic pollution, broke viewers’ hearts - and reminded us how much needs to be done. The tide against plastics is turning but it’s achingly slow.
Now, a new campaign by leading sustainability groups is asking the public to raise awareness of plastic pollution by posting pictures on social media of appealing examples of single plastic use and, in an effort to address the problems, of pioneering solutions.
#Pointlessplastics - a partnership between the Global Good Awards and sustainability consultancy Green Gumption - has already produced some stonking examples of redundant plastics: from the individually wrapped plastic forks at M&S to - currently the most staggering - orange segments at French supermarket chain Carrefour (“Probably one of the worst examples of #PointlessPlastics I've seen!” tweeted founder of Surfers Against Sewage, Hugo Tagholm)
“Over 50% of all plastic produced is ‘single-use’ and is only used for a few minutes,” Paula Owen, Green Gumption CEO, reminds us. “If we’re lucky, [it goes] into recycling, but over 90% goes to landfill or ends up in oceans, causing untold damage and distress to sea-life.” Viewers of Blue Planet will have a visceral understanding of that sentence.
Images of single use plastic are all too readily available. #Pointless plastics is also calling for images of change and solution: pictures of delivery packaging made from easily recyclable material, products packaged in cardboard (or not packaged at all!) and creatively up-cycled examples of a plastic product given second life as well as ways in which people have have reduced and refused single-use plastics.
“Initially, the idea was to get people to tweet with photos of badly packaged items, over-use of plastics or where they weren’t needed at all,” explains Karen Sutton, CEO of Global Good Awards.
“But there’s no point stopping there or we won’t discover all the different solutions. And we won’t know where our manufacturers and retailers are in their journey towards a significantly reduced plastic supply chain.”
Positivity lies at the campaign’s practical heart. “This isn’t a name and shame exercise,” adds Sutton.“We want to share best practice and create a learning platform for all. From retailers influencing suppliers to small seed-funded organisations that have the solution already, we can all learn from each other.”
To take part, simply tweet pictures to @GlobalGoodAward using the hashtag #PointlessPlastics.
Pictures will be showcased on a ‘hall of fame’ on the Global Good Awards website, with a winner announced each week. An overall winner will be invited to the Global Good Awards Ceremony on 16 May 2018.
For more information, visit www.globalgoodawards.co.uk/pointlessplastics and http://globalgoodawards.co.uk/help-highlight-pointless-plastics/