September Newsletter 2018
Original Posting September 2018
Hello to all you plastic warriors out there, and welcome to another month of saving the ocean, one plastic bag at a time. This month we’re all about looking at the big picture, and I’m hoping you can walk away from reading this newsletter feeling stoked that you are literally part of a huge global change, happening right now.
HUGE changes happening in GINORMOUS ways.
Often it feels like what we do as individuals isn’t quite enough. Our one plastic bottle feels like it can’t possibly make a difference in a world where we use about 50 billion bottles in the US alone.
However, those little actions don’t just help yourself, and inspire people around you, they also start a broader shift. Your actions, your “vote” every time you hand over some cash, put pressure on communities, businesses and governments. And increasingly this pressure is causing huge scale change.
So, here’s a few reasons you can feel AMAZING about your small-scale changes, and know that they are a part of something ginormous with some recent business and corporate changes that are having far-reaching impacts. After all, what is the ocean but a whole heap of tiny little drops?
The Big News:
All major aquariums in the USA have pledged to significantly reduce or remove single-use plastics by 2020 – this includes 19 organisations, and will impact 20 million visitors annually!! Many haven’t offered disposable cups or straws for years, but now the impact will be larger and more widespread.
Several large US businesses, including Dell and General Motors, have joined together to form NextWave – a way of putting value back on plastic waste, and recycling on an industrial scale. They’ll be taking mismanaged waste and ocean trash and using it in their products in a “cross-industry, commercial-scale global ocean bound plastics supply chain, processing materials collected from river and coastal areas for use in our products and packaging.”
An island in Honduras has started constructing roads with recycled plastic. The main street of Utila is now paved with a mix of cement, sand and 28% ground/recycled plastic. They’ve started work on a second street, which doesn’t just use up some of the huge amounts of plastic brought in by tourists, but also is a great conversation starter to open everyone’s eyes to plastic waste.
The entire country of France has banned plastic cups, plates and cutlery – instead they must be made of compostable materials. The law comes into place in 2020 and is part of France’s large-scale plan to combat climate change (plastic production emits huge amounts of carbon dioxide). This move is hoped to be the start of similar laws put in place across all of Europe.
Pharmaceutical giant Procter and Gamble have created the first fully recyclable shampoo bottle, made with beach plastic. They have partnered with Terracycle to create the new package for Head & Shoulders shampoo, and recently won a United Nations award for their efforts.
Technology – Shopping Packaging-Free
In this month’s look at how technology is helping eliminate plastics, we’re looking at one of my favourite stores and a cool new idea to cut out packaging altogether.
Lush – a UK handmade cosmetics company with a focus on ethical and environmental products – has been selling solid shampoo bars for years, with over 40% of their products sold packaging-free. They’ve just taken it to the next level, opening a store in Milan which is 100% packaging free !! They’re using a fancy iPhone photo recognition technology, along with artificial intelligence, to let shoppers simply scan the packaging-free products they want to purchase. Currently the technology is being trialled, with a simple pop-up on the phone screen providing basic information about the product. The future plan is to have this technology available in all their stores, and ultimately even include extra information like sourcing of ingredients and the production process so shoppers can ensure what they’re buying is ethical from the source to their bathroom.
Hopefully some of this news has helped you to see the massive change unfolding, but don’t take it from me. While walking down a street in Sydney this morning, every second café was offering discounts for BYO cups, several stores were selling reusable bottles out front, and about half the people I walked past were carrying reusable shopping bags. Next time you’re out and about, look around and see how many things have already changed and feel good about being part of the story with every reusable coffee cup, bottle & bag.
In conclusion, we’ve got this. And I’ll leave you with another inspirational quote you can cut out and stick on your fridge to help you remember:
Individually we are one drop, but together we are an ocean.
Keep up the awesome work!!