Leading retailers, brands, plastic companies, policy advisors were amongst those who flocked to The British Plastics Federation (BPF) Marine Litter event at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) recently. The event received such a terrific industry response that it was over-subscribed.
Renowned experts and entrepreneurs in marine litter, waste management, education, communication, behavioural change, and packaging design came together and pledged to work collaboratively to find solutions to the marine litter problem.
Those who attended have now pledged to lead to a coordinated plan to drastically reduce land-based litter finding its way into the marine environment, as well as a reduction in waste.
Barry Turner, Director of the BPF’s Plastic and Flexible Packaging Group, said: “We were blown away with the response from the invited audience and the British Plastics Federation looks forward to working with all partners over the coming months and years. This is a first step toward making a real difference and helping to stop the flow of litter into our oceans.”
Mark Pawsey, Member of Parliament for Rugby, who presented at the event, said: “The message about the positive impact that the effective use of plastic packaging can have is currently being drowned out by those who would like to see restrictions. It was good to see the sector come together to share best practice and importantly demonstrate the joint approach to reduce the amount of material that is wasted.”
Lord Lindsay co-chair, added: “The expertise and enthusiasm I witnessed at this event is exactly the type of collaboration we need in order to improve the way we use and manage plastic and protect our environment for future generations.“
Presentations ranged from statistics on the origins of plastic waste, to practical solutions in the UK and in the developing world.
Gavin Ellis, Hubbub and Tracy Phipps, Brighton and Hove City Council, co-presented the #StreetsAhead campaign which was launched to clean up litter in Brighton and Hove. Lee Wray-Davies, Keep Britain Tidy introduced the room to the world’s largest education initiative “Eco Schools” in which children develop creative local approaches to tackle waste.
David Katz, The Plastic Bank and Zoë Lenkiewicz, Waste Aid spoke separately about their work with local communities to help re-purpose plastic litter in the developing world, whilst Professor Richard Thompson, University of Plymouth, an expert on marine litter stated: “It is not the materials that are the problem, but how we choose to use them.”