Ideas. Inspiration. Interaction.
That is what Minimum Waste is essentially about. But particularly the first two we now want to stress with our new series ’Planet Hero’, where we introduce everyday heroes who fight against waste & for sustainable consumption.
"Big things have small beginnings"
A Plastic Planet (APP) was launched in 2017 and has grown since into a movement of like-minded individuals demanding the possibility to shop plastic-free. It all started off with the campaign for a plastic-free aisle by Frederikke Magnussen and Sian Sutherland, two self-professed plastic addicts, who no longer could ignore the fact what exactly plastic waste does to our surroundings, our environment and ultimately, to our health.
Being pro-business, APP works to tackle all sides of the problem - working in other words with school, industry, retailers, NGOs, the government and so on. In 2018, (even!) the British Prime Minister publicly backed the campaign, animating even more brands and businesses to join the effort of reducing plastic waste. The message of the movement is simple: since we know what is going on, we need to act now. Not sometime in the future but now. The "plastic tap" simply needs to be turned off, especially when it comes to plastic use in food packaging.
The way A Plastic Planet gets things done?
They keep up the pressure through media and lobbying, active work with businesses on plastic-free alternatives and by applauding those who do things right. So far APP has, to name a few achievements, persuaded Thornton’s Budgens supermarkets to introduce a plastic-free aisle and to change over 2000 (!) of their product lines to plastic-free packaging. It has united more than 250 million people across the globe to participate in the world’s first plastic -free day on June 5th. It has designed the first plastic-free symbol that shows consumers which products use plastic in their packaging - and several supermarkets since then have adopted it (including the Dutch chain Ekoplaza). It has also hosted in cooperation with One Young World the first "Unilever Plastic Free Hackathon" to come up new ideas on how to reduce plastic sachets in developing countries.
The question of plastic packaging is an important one. In an age where we can buy gluten-free, fat-free and even dairy-free products, buying plastic-free should be a choice. But this is nowadays more often than not, simply not the case. Consumers basically drown in plastic - nearly every second news story covers the inconceivable amount of plastic found in nature, but at the same time, when you go to the supermarket, 9/10 of food is wrapped in plastic.
Education and innovation are in this regard key for a development away from plastic materials to materials nature can actually handle. APP therefore actively promotes the increased use of eco-materials (i.e. not bioplastics but materials made out of wood pulp, fungi, food waste, etc.) and of other materials such as metal, glass, paper and carton.
Seeing the enormous strides this movement has done since its establishment mere two years ago, it becomes clear that change can begin even with an elementary question as "why can we not buy plastic-free"?