One Week In Plastic Feb 27


We’ve been working really hard on our educational projects of late. These have become a core part The Plastic Project, and critically we’re already in hundreds of Primary schools. Time taken on the educational project has led to less time being spent on contributing to the website. But it has been amazing to see The Plastic Project being used alongside work from CNN;  seeing Primary school kids using the material in class; receiving feedback from teachers and pupils; plus going live into classrooms which has been brilliant. If you’re a teacher and would like to know more about the project, check out


Deposit Return

Plastic bottles, they are now on every beach on the planet, we can pick them up and turn them into yarn; recycle them; put them in landfill. But where we have to be aiming is stopping them getting there in the first place. Trouble is we’re all a bit lazy, we’re not recycling, and in worst cases we’re throwing them away. Of course the very worse case is when they end up in the natural environment, so what’s the solution? Well ultimately we stop drinking out of them and eventually replace plastic in the bottle making process. Of course this is going to take a long while to change, so let us incentivise recycling: deposit return seems the smartest way, right? So Surfer’s Against Sewage, Greenpeace and a couple of other groups have active petitions to get this rolling (sign SAS one HERE), not that such schemes don’t already exist. Walk into most Ikea stores and a number of other stores and you can deposit plastic bottles in return for vouchers to spend in that store. So the tech exists, and we can go and do it right now if we want to, but can we get this nationwide and into legislation? Sounds good, right? Well here is the sticking point, deposit return schemes work by adding say 10p to the cost of each bottle. That deposit is then refunded when you take it back, which is fine, but as anyone in business will tell you no company is going to like sticking money on their product. Price rises make consumers jittery, plus you have to explain the whole thing that you get that price increase back. Problem is it’s a busy world, and the concern obviously from drinks companies is that people will simply stop buying, hence Coca Cola started lobbying government to not even consider this. Fortunately Coke caught a lot of flak, and at least in Scotland have backed down and are behind the project. It’s an essential next step in closing the loop on bottles, but is just that: the next step. Finding an alternative material to make the bottles with is the only true longterm solution, but in the meantime, sign that petition by clicking the image.


Indonesia to spend $1 Billion

Finally in this dispatch, Indonesia has pledged 1 Billion dollars to clean up their archipelago. Sounds a lot, but that is one hell of a task. The good news is at grass roots level this already happening, whether it be local authorities cleaning beaches, or campaigns to end the use of plastic bags. Not that we love stats too much, but how’s this – the average Indonesian uses between 0.8 to 1 kilogram of plastic bags every year, most of which end up on rivers and streams and are washed away to the sea. There are 250 million people in Indonesia, that’s a lot of plastic bags in the water every year.


The overall aim is that Indonesia will cut the amount of plastic in its water by 70% by 2025, and as the planet’s second biggest polluter when it comes to ocean plastic after China, this is a pretty significant effort.


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