How to eliminate plastic from your life

Number one thing I get asked when talking, or by email is how do we get plastic out of our life, and what is really going to make a change. Firstly understand that this isn’t a war against all plastic, some is vital, and an awesome innovative material, it’s the stuff that gets used once, or very few times, and can be replaced that we have to get rid of.

  1. Eliminate single use and replaceable plastic from your life. Buy fruit and veg loose, buy stuff like pasta in bulk and keep it in jars, so you’re not going back for smaller plastic wrapped alternative, stop buying bottled water!!! This is the way we can all make a difference right now, today you can make a decision to stop buying plastic. If we all did this, we’d be over half way there. Do a quick search fro plastic free supermarkets in your area as well.
  2. Spread the word, yes the plastic issue was all over the media last year, but have you noticed something, it’s starting to go awfully quiet again, keep telling everyone you know, we as a species quickly slip back into old routines, and not using plastic has to be a routine.
  3. Make sure you’re not using cosmetics/washes with microbeads in, they are in decline thanks to our collective pressure, but it isn’t a total win yet. Likewise cotton buds, tampons, nappies, anything like that, if there is a non plastic solution (and in some cases it is hard to find) use it, although I appreciate this isn’t always easy to locate.
  4. We have to start thinking about how we are doing our washing, the big bits of plastic in our life are easy to find and get rid of, but those micro fibres that come off our clothes in every wash are devastating, so we need to front up to this. So right now the best option is to ask any plastic fibre based clothes in a Guppy Bag or similar, these collect the fibres, however this is a short term solution and we need to pressure manufacturers into installing filters in washing machines.
  5. Reuse stuff, lets break this chain of buy cheap, destroy, buy again. Lets go back to fix, improve, buy secondhand, because an awful lot of that new stuff that is out there is heavily plastic based.
  6. We all have to get behind policy changes, I know petitions can sometimes be pointless, but they do raise awareness, and groups like Surfers Against Sewage (JOIN HERE), are lobbying all the time for changes int he law when it comes to plastic, and the is really important.
  7. Directly contact manufacturers/brands or simply vote with your feet. End of the day everyone is trying to make a profit, and if you stop buying because of plastic, they will have to change, so ditch or switch to a company which is actively removing plastic or designing it out, we have the power.
  8. Grow your own veg, cook more food from scratch, use farmers markets, all are a great way of cutting out plastic packaging, yes maybe a little less convenient but not having a planet to live on is way less convenient.
  9. Beach clean – whenever you go to the beach do your two minutes, it’s not the solution but it Is the most ecologically sound way of removing plastic from our beaches. But you also have to think of it this way, it is pointless to do this without all the above, it’s like having an overflowing bath and just mopping the floor.
  10. Finally recycle, I’ve left this last as it should be seen as the last resort, not the first stop, it’s better to have nothing to recycle in the first place.

If you’d like to help us, we have a couple of books for sale, check them out below

 

This Is Why Recycling Is Not The Answer

 

Bottom line is we have to stop the flow, not find solutions as to what to do with it, and as a big consumer of plastic places like the UK and US etc. need to front up and sort this out, not send it to other countries where it is out of sight out of mind.

If you’d like to help the plastic project grab a book –

The House That Trash Built

Seen North of the Sun? If you haven’t then you need to, it’s one of the best surf films of all time here’s the link to the Vimeo on demand page – LINK. Well we hiked into a beach in Arctic Norway where we thought their cabin may have been, but didn’t totally expect it to be. It’s very well sheltered and we didn’t notice it for a couple of hours, but it was pretty epic to see once we found it. Inge Wegge and Jørn Ranum built it out of trash and driftwood they found on the beach and lived in it for a whole winter. That winter they cleared over 2 tonnes of rubbish from this beach.  This is a little vignette is their home, it’s epic and check out their other films as well. This is just a little pre-taster to the latest expedition. Everyone who has pledged thank you so much, you’ll be getting real postcards, prints and exclusive shots and tales in the digital postcard in the next couple of days.

Hobbit home with a view
Hobbit home with a view
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Collection of plastic from the beach, and the King and Queen of Norway
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A note from the current resident who we did not see
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A single emergency Marlboro light
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From a stove made from an old oil drum to bunks and ceiling made from driftwood
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The sink is genius, half a plastic fuel can
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A note from the builders

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If you’d like to help us you can become a friend or grab a book…

TPP Education Resource

Over the last five years we have silently distributed over 1600 images of pollution, surfing and adventure to educational establishments worldwide. Through this we have reached around about 3 million young people, plus a whole load more through talks and films.

This resource is vast, and up until this month has sat on a drop box which people have to drop me a line to get access to. This has worked, and we’ve made inroads into educational institutions from Camborne to China and far beyond. The basis for this resource is photographers, not just me, but every beach, surf, adventure photographer we have been able to find who would help. They have taken images holiday, during their spare time or simply as they have been working. They have then given them to us to help , and increase the size of this free resource.

We charge nothing fo the use of this resource, it is there to help educate the whole planet on to exactly what is going on/wrong, but we have wanted to do two things for a long time.

One is to invite more of you to take part, you can be any level of photographer, and what we want is images of plastic in the environment, not beach cleans, just plastic as it lies, some closeups are OK, but we really want to put it int perspective, so people can see what visual impact it has, check out the two shots below from Chris Burkard in India and Tim Nunn in France for an idea.

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The second is to have a completely open resource, that is one. that you don’t have to drop me a line. to have access tom, and you can just pull resources down from. This is a couple of weeks away from reality, and we are really pleased to announce that it is going to be live and free to everyone before the en dow February. You will be Abel to access it through his site and the imagery can be used for educational purposes globally as well as online to help spread the word,

Our ultimate goal is to go from three million students reached to ten million and then beyond, it’s ambitious and we are running on a tight budget but we are going to make it. Thanks to all our sponsors for their support, and all the individuals who have purchased one of our books to help us along the way.

you can still get one below –

Adopting tech to fight plastic pollution and climate change

We don’t usually regurgitate press releases on here, but in this case this is pretty important. Also the guys at Surf Does and especially Adam Hall have been a massive help with us here at TPP, and with industry being ultimately a major factor in ridding us of plastic, and possibly the most important force, these steps are very important, check the film and read on if you’re interested.

Headline environmental crises don’t come much bigger than climate change and plastic pollution. Climate change should be at the top of every agenda as it will affect every living thing. Since the recent COP24 it’s clear the ‘powers that be’ aren’t taking the front foot – it’s up to the business community.
Plastic pollution leapt into the consciousness of the wider public in 2018 with the release of hard hitting details on the BBC’s Blue Planet, outlining the damage our addiction to convenience is reaping on the oceans. The year must have activated thousands of new environmentalists. Again, plastic comes from business – so it’s there we find the solution.
Business needs to lead
It’s clear the vast majority of people on our planet want it to function and be healthy, more so the outdoor loving Internet Fusion customer. But changing consumer habits takes a long time and government policy change is also proving to be an extremely slow process.
So, it’s left for responsible businesses to take the lead. The business community has the opportunity to influence its wide sphere of influence when it comes to C02 and plastic pollution. Almost all plastic pollution comes from a business source, so the opportunity to ‘turn off the tap’ is clear and when considering the position business finds itself in being able to influence customers, supply chain, market forces and policy change. It’s also clear where the power is to tackle climate change.
Thinking outside the box … with a box
Internet Fusion group, a collection of online outdoor specialist retail platforms. It’s one of the businesses that clearly recognises the need for businesses to step up environmentally.
The group, not content with common objections, such as ‘removing plastic will increase C02’ are working with solutions that take a broader view.
In the summer of 2018 the business adopted the first two automated packaging machines in the shape of Neoposts CVP-500. The machines pack products to be shipped in recycled cardboard, further reducing the need for plastic, assisting the business to increase further their already impressive 91% plastic free packaging in 2017.
The machine creates a package to the exact footprint of the product, eliminating the need for void filling. Packages being made to exact size has also eliminated the need for a further 90 lorry loads per year, reducing the C02 impact and objection.
And just in case there is any further doubt, the business is quadrupling its solar PV system, along with 100% renewable energy and Biogas contracts to really drive down C02 emissions across the entire business.
The CVP-500 can process upto 450 packages an hour, so of course this provides efficiencies. The more efficient the business the more it can concentrate on being as sustainable as it can be.
This is a clear example of a business looking outside of the normal model and taking a holistic approach to sustainability. It’s embracing technological innovation to solve environmental issues that their customer base is concerned with.

If you’d like to help us grab a book…

 

 

 

What We Achieved In 2018

This past year has been intense, at times The Plastic Project has totally consumed my life. I believed right from the start that photography, visual evidence was the answer to reaching billions, and we’re not quite there yet, but we’re picking up a pace. So what have we done?

  • Education. Most of the year has been about developing an easily accessible educational resource that is open to the whole planet. The dream was always that using surf/adventure photographers, we could create a resource, that was constantly updated, and was accessible to every educational establishment on Earth. We set it up in 2017 and reached about 500k students. We made it a lot better, and increased the resource size, we spread the word, and incredibly we have now reached over 3 Million students in Europe, North America, Africa, China, Indonesia and Australia. For 2019 the archive of images will all be web based and not on a drop box, so everybody will have access and we want take that reach up to 10 million +. The archive is gong to be available to all indivduals as well.
  • We have also a little by accident worked with/changed 47 companies attitudes towards plastic packaging. By spreading the word about plastic we have reached into areas which may not have taken notice, and because of that whether it has been replacing a plastic clothing tag with string or a brochure is now sent out in paper and not plastic, they are all small wins.
  • We now have an army of photo activists contributing to the project. Originally it was just pro photographers, but we now have an ever growing band of photo activists, who are contributing to our educational archive, If you’d like to become one of those click HERE
  • We delivered most of the limted edition versions of our book – Dispatches From A Plastic Planet. We are very proud of the coffee table book, and it has taken a long time to pull together, but its not only a look at plastic through England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Iceland and Norway, but also an epic surf adventure. And don’t worry I am aware a few of you haven’t got yours yet due to postage/labelling errors, they will all arrive n the next week or two. KMF_2018_aa_768_525_c1.jpg
  • Our film and exhibition have been incredibly well received and will be properly on the road in 2019. We were fortunate to show it with Otter Surfboards in September, and we’ve been part of The Kendal Mountain Film Festivals activists tour, Patagonia very kindly let us show our shorts before Nevertown on the tour in France, and it has been shown in aid of Sea Shepard in Brighton and SAS in London, as well as showings in Lisbon, Madrid and Sydney. We will be taking it on tour, we didn’t in the autumn because of so many clashes with the Andy Irons movie and Momentum Generation, I was pretty sure given the choice of going to a cinema to watch the greatest surfers to ever live, or me and some fellow activists talk plastic and sleep rough in tunnels,  we knew where most people would go, but we will be coming along soon.

Waterlevel from The Plastic Project on Vimeo.
As always  want to say thank you to everyone who has helped, sponsors and individuals, it’s a tough path, I am on my own, doing what I can between work, to simply try and make a difference using the still and moving image. Nobody makes any money from the project, and any donations or sponsorship goes straight into or educational platform.

We don’t like to take anything away from other charities/not for profits, so we run a very lean ship, it costs under five thousand pounds a year to make everything happen here, but if you would like to help you can become a friend for £4.50 below.