Don’t let good ideas (or material) go to waste

When the sun’s out it can soon have us all reaching for a cooling bottle of water, a fizzy drink sipped through a straw, or a refreshing tub of ice-cream. Most plastic packaging items like these are typically only used once and then discarded.

Plastic StrawRecent calls from Sir David Attenborough to tackle plastic pollution after witnessing its impacts whilst filming Blue Plant II are encouraging us all to think more carefully about what happens to materials after use. This month, the EU announced proposals to ban disposable plastic items like straws, cups and cotton buds, with similar plans being considered by the UK government under its 25-year environment plan.

Communicating the need to be more responsible in the way we use materials is reaching every sector. For example, we were pleased to read news in a recent edition of Equestrian Trade News (ENT magazine) about a company, Threshers Barn Equestrian, calling for the equestrian industry to reduce plastic waste. The retailer’s refill service for fly repellents aims to reduce the number of plastic bottles that get thrown away, with plans to extend its refill service mane and tail sprays and shampoos.

Campaigns encouraging behaviour change need to resonate with individuals in a clear and concise way. The growth in social media means there are many more ways to share the recycling messaging. Indeed, we have previously commissioned independent research exploring public attitudes to recycling, and what sort of messages would encourage or deter people to take part in their local recycling schemes.

We support a number of organisations with campaigns encouraging responsible use of resources. One of our clients, Cromwell Polythene has been sharing the important message that, when plastic products are used correctly and recycled or used to generate energy at the end of their useful life, they don’t need to put oceans under threat. Used properly, plastic will continue to offer a convenient and cost-effective solution to many of modern day life’s issues. Cromwell Polythene will be speaking at the RWM exhibition in September on this issue. They have also joined the UK Plastic Pact to help keep plastic in the economy and out of the natural environment.

To encourage more responsible resource use of all materials, we need to be honest and engaging about the challenges faced and the opportunities for positive change. Engaging people in the recycling story is more important than ever.