Jamie’s Italian joins the Plastic Free Pledge!

BIG NEWS! We are now delighted to announce that every Jamie’s Italian in the UK have signed up to the Plastic Free Pledge and will now be plastic straw free! The management team at JI’s have been brilliant at showing their commitment to the cause, rolling out the plastic straw alternatives across all their 36 UK venues really quickly and being fully on board with the Plastic Free Pledge. You can check out all of the venues on our map here. We really hope that this bold move by such a national chain will jump start others into making a change too…watch this space. In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for our logo popping up with Jamie’s Italian soon!

The British Airways i360 joins the Plastic Free Pledge!

We have had a brilliant start to the week – and can now announce that the British Airways i360 have now signed up to the Plastic Free Pledge!

British Airways i360 in Brighton is the world’s tallest moving observation tower and was conceived and designed by Marks Barfield Architects, creators of the London Eye. In a giant glass viewing pod, guests glide up slowly from ground level to 138m for panoramic views across Brighton & Hove, the South Downs National Park and the beautiful Sussex coastline. While on board they can enjoy a drink from the Nyetimber Sky Bar, which serves award-winning sparkling wine and other drinks from the region.

In the British Airways i360 beach building, West Beach Bar & Kitchen serves seasonal dishes inspired by Brighton & Hove, and there are also beachside events spaces – all of which will now only serve straws on request. Green energy is used across the site and British Airways i360 is also part of the #2minutebeachclean movement, encouraging visitors and staff alike to help keep their environment litter-free.

We are delighted that the British Airways i360 is now part of the Plastic Free Pledge – look out for our window stickers there soon!

did you catch us talking marine plastic and Plastic Free Pledge on Radio Reverb?

We were delighted to be invited to talk to Charlotte Petts on her ‘Growing Wild’ programme, which was broadcast on Sunday 27th August 2017 – a programme all about plastic pollution. PFP co-founder Claire Potter was first up on the programme, which also featured Bex Band and Erin Bastian of Paddle Pick Up and Natalie Fee of City to Sea.

Missed it? No worries. You can listen again below…

The UK finally bans plastic microbeads in cosmetics!

Back in 2016, a report by the Environmental Audit Committee called for a recommended ban of plastic microbeads in cosmetic products. The microbeads, which are made from a variety of plastics and are often found in facial scrubs, shower gels and toothpastes, are so small that they bypass filters in the waste waster systems and end up in the ocean. An estimated 51 trillion pieces have accumulated in our seas and we are only just beginning to understand how they are impacting wildlife, as many fish and birds eat them by mistake. It is something that is really easy to stop – banning microbeads is the way forward.

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So, it was with great delight that an announcement on 2nd September 2016 from the UK government backed the banning of microbeads in cosmetic products – with no microbeads being allowed in scrubs and toothpastes by some time in 2017. We now know, after a press release from Environmental Secretary, Michael Gove on 21st July, that we have a date set. Microbeads will be banned from ALL personal care and cosmetics products by 30th June 2018. 

Good news?

This, of course, is great news and brings forward the voluntary ban that some cosmetic companies had already outlined for 2020. But there are still flaws. The critical part of this ban is the terminology.

‘Cosmetic product’ can mean many things to many manufacturers, plus microbeads are often found in cleaning products for the home and in industry – not just in our bathroom cabinets. So if we are banning microbeads in cosmetic products, surely we need to ban microbeads in all products?

As Greenpeace’s ocean campaigner, Louise Edge rightly stated,

‘… marine life doesn’t distinguish between plastic from a face wash and plastic from a washing detergent, so it makes no sense for this ban to be limited to some products and not others, as is currently proposed.’

Mary Creagh, the Labour MP and chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, agreed, saying:

‘I’m pleased to see the Government has finally agreed with my Committee’s call for a ban on microbeads. Fish don’t care where the plastic they are eating comes from, so it’s vital the ban covers all microplastics in all down the drain products.’

So this is a welcome start – but one that we can certainly build on. Until we have NO unnecessary plastics in any of our products, we are washing away materials that will almost never degrade in the environment. Till then, check out our post about how you can avoid microbeads yourself…

How to check for microbeads and microplastics in products…

We now have a date for the banning of microbeads in the UK – from 30th June 2018, you will no longer be able to purchase personal care products or cosmetics that contain microplastics. But until then, you will have to do a little work to make sure that you are not accidentally buying a plastic laden product. It should be rather simple, but of course, no product is going to emblazon the fact that is contains such damaging ingredients as microplastics or microbeads on the front of the label. No. You need to do a little investigation…

Look for products that state they have 100% natural scrubs in, such as the Original Source scrub range (which use almond shell fragments instead), or products by ethical manufacturers, such as Lush, who do a magnificent range of plastic free alternatives and offer refill and low packaging options.

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Shower scrubs and face scrubs are quite easy. The harder ones to seek out are the microbeads in toothpaste. So – turn the packet over and look at the ingredients. If you see any of the below, you will likely have a product with microbeads in your hands:

– Polyethylene / Polythene (PE)
– Polypropylene (PP)
– Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
– Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA)
– Nylon

See any of these? Put the product down. Vote with your wallet and find a better, microbead free alternative. They are there and they are likely to not cost any more than those with plastic in. In fact, some manufacturers are starting to realise the benefits of saying how they are plastic free – so look out for this on packaging.

And of course, there is an app for that too. The Beat the Microbead app, which was previously just available in Europe, now contains information on those products that contain microbeads. Use the app to scan barcodes and find out more about the products…

It is critical that we minimise the plastic that enters our oceans as the damage that it is having on the marine environment is quite staggering and hugely unreported in general media. But as individuals we do not have to feel helpless. We can do our own small part. And personally banning microplastics and microbeads from our homes and workplaces is a great way to start.

Pollutoys from Sea Shepherd…

All designers will know the feeling. Seeing something that is so elegant in thought, so refined in execution and so fitting a cause that you let out a small sigh of ‘ah… I wish I’d designed that’. And so it was when we happened upon the new Pollutoys from marine conservation society Sea Shepherd.

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With marine plastic harming or killing an estimated 1 million mammals, fish and seabirds per year around the globe, as well as clearing up what is already in there, it is essential that we stop it at source.

Leading beach cleans as part of our Surfers Against Sewage duties here in Brighton, we know that children often understand the issue very quickly and very clearly. They ask the obvious questions that no adult dare ask, and they just get it – for instance – ‘Why would someone just leave their rubbish on the beach – are they lazy’? Well. Quite.

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By educating children in the issues of marine plastic and litter, we are empowering a new generation understanding that action is needed. Plus, research has shown that children learn better through play, so Sea Shepherd have teamed up with toy designer Andrea Vida to created ‘Pollutoys’ – a series of marine plushies to teach children aged 2-5 of the issues.

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Completed with educational cards, the plushies such as Mark the Shark, Willy the Whale and Darla the Dolphin soon get the messages across with their sad faces and bellies full of ‘plastic’.

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At the moment, these are just educational tools, but it would be great to see these in toy stores around the world – spreading this important message to kids everywhere.

(images via Pollutoys)