Tag Archives: City to Sea

New campaign launch – are you a good a**hole?

At work we’ve just launched a new campaign that tried to change people’s flushing behaviour of wet wipes that cause a huge environmental damage. It has been a lot of fun to put together so I thought I would share the launch blog I wrote here:

We need to talk to you about your a**hole. We know, we’re sorry!

The problem is, when trying to look after your a**hole, and the a**holes of those you love, many people are buying, using and incorrectly flushing wet wipes.

Today we’ve launched a new campaign to shine a light on the issue and find a way to tackle it.

WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT FLUSHING WET WIPES WE HEAR YOU ASK?

Most people think wet wipes break down like toilet paper when you flush them, but they don’t!

When wet wipes are flushed down the loo, they caused huge blockages called fatbergs (which are made up of 93% of wet wipes). And it costs millions to clear up, contributing to plastic pollution in our oceans by blocking sewers and causing overspills of waste.

Wet wipes are now changing the shape of our rivers and polluting our beaches in terrifying numbers. One study found over 4,500 wet wipes on one 154m sq patch of foreshore – a rise of 700% over the last decade[1].

DID YOU KNOW – MOST WET WIPES ARE MADE OF PLASTIC?

The problem is, most people don’t even realise that wet wipes are mainly made up of plastic. Of the 11 billion wet wipes sold in the UK every year, 90% contain some form of plastic. The confusing packaging usually doesn’t even mention plastic!

As City to Sea’s founder, Natalie Fee says, “Let’s face it, the real a**holes are the manufacturers who are still not listing the actual material of the wipe on the ingredients list. This is making it hard for people to realise they’re potentially flushing plastic down the loo.”

Sorry to dump bad news on you like this, but it’s important and here in the UK, we don’t tend to like talking about poo, bums or anything else that happens behind that locked bathroom door (unless of course, it involves toilet humour).

BE A GOOD A**HOLE

This is why we’ve launched our new campaign – #BeAGoodAsshole. The campaign involves our very own talking a**hole, developed in partnership with Lord of The Rings actor, Andy Serkis and the creative agency Karmarama. That’s right – a very famous talking a**hole – that we hope will make a real splash!

In a short animation, our a**hole highlights the problem with flushing wet wipes and suggests that you might not need to use wet wipes in the first place.

Speaking on his involvement in the campaign, Andy Serkis explains, “All across the news we are seeing people take a stand to look after our planet. It’s time we all start taking responsibility for our actions and that starts with being a good a**hole. It’s only one tiny change we can all make which goes a long way in protecting our oceans. I didn’t think I’d ever feel so passionate to take on the role of a talking a**hole.”

HAVE A LOOK AND SEE WHAT YOU THINK.

Ultimately our talking a**hole sends you to the campaign’s microsite www.beagoddasshole.com where you can share the animation and create your own a**hole profile picture.

While we would love you to spread the word with all the a**holes you know, the biggest thing we want you to do is this – try to not use wet wipes at all (toilet roll is fine), but if you do feel the need to use wet wipes, always put them in the bin and not down the toilet.

There is a golden rule here, whenever you’re on the bog make sure you only flush the 3P’s – pee, paper and poo.

It’s simple and could help solve a really crappy plastics problem.

REFERENCES:

[1] http://www.mcsuk.org/downloads/gbbc/2016/GBBC_2016_Report.pdf

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Interview: Burger King to remove plastic toys in its children meals

I spoke to local BBC radio stations across the UK about the news that Burger King are to scrap the little plastic toys in their children’s meals.

This is the last interview I did with BBC Radio Stoke through their Listen Again function here. You can here the feature from 1:40:42 in.

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Travelling on trains without plastics has never been so easy

This article was written for Scenic Britain and first published on their blog as part of City to Sea’s #PlasticFreeTravel campaign.

More people than ever are travelling by train, and more people than ever are also trying to reduce the amount of plastic they use. This summer it is easier than ever to travel without plastic. Read on to find out how.

As part of the #PlasticFreeTravel campaign, the environmental campaigning organisation, City to Sea is working with Network Rail to have fountains installed in 19 of Britain’s largest railway stations, which have already saved the equivalent of over a million plastic bottles.

This is about making it easier (and cheaper) for people to try and reduce the amount of plastic they use when travelling – especially on holidays.

As Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, said, “This is a great start and shows that passengers share our passion to reduce single-use plastic… I’m pleased to say we’re making it even easier for people using our stations to refill their bottles too.” And that’s the name of the game here – making it easy for you (yes you!) to travel with less plastic.

With Pret, Starbucks, Costa and so many more high street brands now signed up to the Refill app there is always going to be a Refill point close by major train stations. This means less single-use plastic purchased – and less ending up polluting our shared natural environment.

We can all do our bit by remembering to always pack a reusable water bottle into our bags. It’s good for your wallet and good for the environment.

Sadly, not quite full steam ahead

Although a few train operating companies are looking into this, water refills are still not available on any train – so if it’s a long journey you’ll have to pack all the water you need to stay away from plastic bottles.

So, remember to Refill at the station before you leave.

For now, City to Sea will keep challenging UK Train Operating Companies to be the first to offer easily accessible, free tap water refills on board a train. The first one who does will make history and others would soon follow.

We can all do our bit

There is so much we can all be doing to travel with less plastic-this summer. Here are our 5 top-tips:

1. Download the refill app and stay hydrated

With the Refill app, it’s easy for you to find your nearest Refill Station on the go! There are now over 20,000 places to Refill your water bottle around the UK. Our aim is to have a Refill Station on every high street and every station.

2. Carry a water bottle

This summer make sure the first thing to go into your hand luggage is a reusable water bottle! We know people buy bottled water when they’re travelling. Through social change, we’re making it the norm to carry a reusable bottle, so you’ll never have to buy a plastic bottle again.

3. Carry a reusable cup

In 2011 around 2.5 billion coffee cups were thrown away each year.

When we’re holidaying, it’s easy to slip out of habits like carrying our keep cups – which is why when you’re travelling your plastic waste can spiral.

You can be part of the solution by taking your reusable coffee cup with you wherever you go.

4. Reuse your beach toys or buy secondhand

Last year, a shocking 600 bodyboards were abandoned on just 3 beaches in the South West of England in one month alone. Now think how many £1 plastic bucket and spade sets or novelty inflatable dinosaurs and flamingos were purchased and thrown away! It doesn’t have to be like this.

If you heading to Devon and Cornwall this summer (on maybe the most beautiful train journey in the UK), then take toys to the beach and have fun, but make sure you keep hold of them and reuse them each year. This top-tip is simple – don’t buy rubbish you don’t need.

5. Say no to travel miniatures

An estimated 980 tonnes of mini-plastic shampoo bottles are being dumped by British holiday each year! That’s the equivalent to two-and-a-half Boeing 747s! Say no to the travel toiletries and instead of buying the super expensive and tiny bottles of shampoo and soap, take your own toiletries from home in refillable travel-sized containers. Or, if you really need to stock up then opt for plastic-free shampoo and soap bars.

We know they aren’t always easy to find in shops and that’s why we’ve set up this petition calling on the big supermarkets to stock plastic-free toiletries.

Find out more about the #PlasticFreeTravel campaign.

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Hotels are ditching mini toiletries – here is how you can help them do it faster

044-CityToSea_TravelCampaign_TwitterInfographics_1200x675px-V4This article was originally published in Pebble Magazine, as part of City to Sea (where I now work as their Campaigns Manager)’s #PlasticFreeTravel campaign.

There was a time when no holiday was considered complete without trying to eke out the most miniscule amounts of shampoo from those mini bottles that haunt hotel bathrooms. But the times they are a changing.

This week it was announced that all hotels run by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) will remove mini toiletries from their rooms, after realising they get through 200 million mini bottles of shampoo, shower gel and so on – per year.

The move will see their hotel chains such as Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza hotels taking the small single-use plastic bottles out of their 843,000 rooms by 2021.

These toiletry bottles have been a curious part of a hotel experience for as long as most of us can remember.

Alongside the shower cap, the free hand conditioner that smells like Aunt Marjorie’s potpourri and the trouser press they were an unquestioned part of hotel room ‘experience’.

Premier Inn, the UK’s largest hotel chain, has never used them and instead fitted rooms with dispensers to cut soap waste as well as plastic pollution. It’s a move that has saved them money as well as the environment.

Last year Marriott Hotels announced they were scrapping the mini bottles and just a few months ago the first ever piece of legislation was introduced in California that would see these tiny toiletries banned – forever.

But how did hotels ever think these environmentally disastrous and economically costly bottles were ever a good idea?

Why do we need to get rid of mini toiletries?

If there’s anything that conjures up single use plastic when you’re on holiday, it’s hotel toiletries. Mini bottles of shampoo and conditioner might be handy in the moment but they contribute to our overwhelming, global plastic crisis.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has worked out there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2020. Plastic makes up 60-90% of all marine pollution, with over eight million pieces of plastic ending up in the oceans, every day.

In addition to the millions of mini toiletries that hotels get through, research suggests that 15.5 million Brits buy travel size bottles when going on holiday with many saying they would make no effort to recycle them. This results in an estimate 980 tonnes of plastic bottles being dumped by holiday makers each year. For context, that’s the equivalent to two-and-a-half Boeing 747s.

But there is good news for the summer.

We don’t have to wait for our government to ban these things before we next enjoy a weekend break. There are other ways to enjoy a cranial cleanse that doesn’t involve harming the oceans.

Hard bar shampoos and refillable bottles

The first is an obvious one. There are shampoo bars out there that come with no plastic packaging at all. But if you are really committed to the squelch of liquid shampoo as it oozes out onto your palm, then there is no reason not to buy refillable bottles.

There is a whole world of travel refillable containers out there waiting for you to decant your shampoo into for your mini break. To make this easy for customers though we need all the big supermarkets to stock these products and give customers a real choice.

Ask your travel brand to ditch plastic

The travel sector is changing fast. Some Thomas Cook research found that 90% of its customers care about plastic pollution and want them to do something about it.

In addition, 60% are more likely to use a travel provider who took plastic pollution seriously.

At the same time refill schemes are slowly becoming the norm, so you don’t need to keep buying single use plastic to take away.

Waitrose recently became the first of the big supermarkets to introduce a refill station in its store. This allows customers to top up dry goods and beer and wine in reusable containers.

Not near a Waitrose? See our list of over 90 zero waste stores across the UK where you can refill haircare, pick up hard bar shampoos, bamboo toothbrushes and other plastic free travel essentials.

And then there is the pioneering Refill App – that allows you to find the nearest place you can refill your reusable water bottle for free.

Ask your hotel about their recycling and eco-friendly policies

We all know greenwashing is rife. Don’t believe the myth that recycling will solve everything. Remember that of the more than six billion tonnes of plastic waste produced by 2015, only 9% has ever been recycled. Of the rest, almost all of it is now in the landfill or the natural environment (79%) with the remainder incinerated.

If you happen to find yourself sharing a shower with one of those ridiculous mini bottles of shampoo; firstly, don’t use it and secondly, let management know you don’t want them to use them. It might seem like a small move but in these rapidly changing times hotel chains need just the smallest of nudges to adopt more sustainable approaches.

You can be that nudge.

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