It’s amazing to think that just 12 weeks have passed since A Plastic Planet took its first tentative steps. From humble beginnings, we have grown into a mass movement for positive change in less than 100 days. After a whirlwind few months, I wanted to kick off our campaign blog by reflecting on the first stage of our plastic-free journey.
I started A Plastic Planet with Frede Magnussen after we both worked on the launch of the film, A Plastic Ocean. The film illustrates the shocking extent of the plastic pollution crisis that mankind faces. Learning from this experience inspired me to take the plastic-free message to the next level. I wanted to DO something about the curse of throwaway plastic, not just talk or think about it. Once you know what we have all collectively done, you cannot unknow.
And so A Plastic Planet was born. It is a campaign for the doers not the thinkers. It’s for those of us who worry about the damage we are doing every time we buy trolley-loads of groceries covered in single-use plastic packaging that will remain on the earth long after we are gone.
Sadly the plastic crisis has no silver bullet, and it’s easy to get over-awed by the sheer scale of the problem. While there are many factors beyond our control, as consumers we can be powerful agents of change just by tweaking our shopping habits.
We think a supermarket Plastic Free Aisle would be a great way of giving shoppers a real choice over what they buy. For years we have been able to buy gluten-free, fat-free and dairy-free, so why not plastic-free?
In April this year, we launched #PlasticAddict – a viral video campaign featuring thousands of people demanding the chance for a plastic-free future. Our online video wall has grown from a small band of supporters to an unstoppable mass movement of ordinary people throwing their weight behind a Plastic Free Aisle in supermarkets. Embracing the power of social media, our explosive growth has exceeded all expectations.
We’ve taken to the airwaves to tell as many people as possible about our plastic-free mission. Back in April, I had the pleasure of appearing alongside John Humphreys – a big beast of the Beeb – on Radio 4’s Today Programme. For a man in his seventies who has been getting up at 3am every day for the past thirty years to present the programme Britain wakes up to, he is in remarkably good nick!
It’s always an immensely enjoyable – if nerve-wracking – experience appearing on national TV or radio. While we do our best to get the word out to people all over Britain, things don’t always quite go to plan…
On April 18, our communications team secured us a spot on the BBC News Channel. After hours of prep, I was bit deflated to hear that another story had trumped us, and we would no longer be appearing on TV. The producer told us that a breaking news item was considered more newsworthy than an interview with yours truly.
Minutes later, I turned on the TV to see Theresa May appearing from the door of Number 10 to face the world’s media. Within seconds of placing her notes on the lectern, the Prime Minister had dropped the snap election bombshell that few predicted. Britain was to go to the polls on June 8.
How long ago that all seems now…
With the help of ordinary people and celebrities alike, we’ve been able to build a formidable team that is
spreading the word about a Plastic Free Aisle to millions of people. In recent weeks, we have reached out to the bosses of Britain’s major supermarkets, ensuring we are taking our message right to the very top.
We have come a long way in a very short space of time, but there is a long road ahead.
Our plastic-free ambassadors have done an amazing job, but we need more of them to take our message to all four corners of the UK and beyond. We need to grow our amazing video wall further, showing the supermarkets that there is formidable consumer demand for change. We also need social media users to connect with us, helping us to identify the types of plastic-free products that could go in a Plastic Free Aisle.
I feel we are very close to achieving something very special. Together we can be the generation that confines throwaway plastic to the history books. Because remember, with plastic there is no ‘away’.
This blog is the first of many so check back soon.
To get involved, please connect with us on social media or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.