The end of plastic?

We know it can be easy to despair at the extent of waste pollution in our world, so it’s time to pick ourselves up with some positive news!

Thanks to the tireless efforts of passionate people like those in our movement, together with others fighting the same battle worldwide, the tide is really starting to turn on the plastic pollution front.

Significant changes are currently taking place all over the world, and here is our roundup of some of the recent developments we are most excited about.

Proactive policies

An historic step by the EU will see tough new restrictions on single-use plastic products from 2021, a new G7-led initiative seeks to rid our oceans of plastic, and on a local level plastic bans and initiatives to reduce plastic waste are spreading like wildfire.

To name just a few such local initiatives, Turkey will start to charge for plastic bags from 2019, Indonesia is releasing a policy for producers to take responsibility for their waste, Australia has successfully cut its plastic bag consumption by 80% through a ban in its two major supermarket chains, and London has seen its first ever entirely plastic free section in one of its supermarkets.

Bold businesses

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in partnership with the UN Environment, has announced a new Global Commitment to eliminate plastic waste. It has been signed by over 250 of the world’s largest packaging brands including The Coca-Cola Company, Mars, L’Oréal and H&M, and aims to create a ‘new normal’ for plastic packaging.

Plastic reduction initiatives are also taking off in the aviation and travel industries, with Thomas Cook announcing their commitment to remove 70 million single-use plastic items from their operations, including planes and hotels, over the next 12 months.

Air New Zealand flights has also recently announced the replacement of the 25 million plastic disposables it churns through every year with reusable plastic-free alternatives, and Delta is set to remove single-use plastic items from their aircrafts and Sky Club lounges too.

In the food and drink industry, Clipper have announced their new plastic-free tea bags, online food delivery business Just Eat is ramping up its trial of seaweed-based sauce sachets, and even MacDonalds have started introducing ‘strawless’ lids for cold beverages, at 10 Beijing outlets so far.

Adapting attitudes

Much of this change is coming from the ground up, with the general public demanding change from their policy-makers and the businesses they engage with, thanks to shifting public attitudes towards plastic.

Recent research in Europe has backed this up – showing that three quarters of shoppers across the continent preferring to buy products with environmentally friendly packaging, and 7 out of every 10 Brits say that common single-use plastics should carry a cigarette-style warning label.

Let’s ride the wave!

This rising shift in global action to combat plastic pollution comes at the perfect time for the Let’s Do It movement, as we move towards the development of global and local plans to implement our recently launched Keep It Clean Plan.

The plan embeds the principles of the ‘Zero Waste’ strategy and concludes with recommended actions for businesses, governments, citizens and NGOs, to implement specific steps to deal with the global mismanaged waste crisis.

Find out more about the next steps for the Keep It Clean Plan, and together let’s ride this wave of positive action towards a waste free future!