Do you want to reduce your household’s environmental impact? You’re not alone. A recent Office for National Statistics survey has found that 75% of adults in Great Britain are worried about the impact of climate change. There is a lot you can do to lower your carbon footprint, but one way to make a real difference is by avoiding single-use plastic.
The plastic problem
Our planet is facing a plastic pollution crisis. New findings from The Big Plastic Count have shown that nearly 100 billion pieces of packaging are thrown away by UK households every year. Just 12% is recycled in the UK. The rest builds up in landfill, is burnt, or remains as a blight on our landscapes. This is having a huge impact on human health, wildlife, and the natural world.
We all know how damaging discarded plastic can be to our ecosystems and oceans. Particularly when you take into account the fact that it can take up to 450 years for a plastic bottle to decompose. Once litter has been abandoned, it can stay in our environment for many centuries to come. It’s a scary thought.
Hopefully, there is now greater awareness about the impact this waste has on the world around us. Many people take part in Plastic Free July, a global movement that encourages the end of plastic pollution. The campaign helps to raise awareness about the need to avoid single-use items wherever possible. It also offers plenty of ideas for eco alternatives.
Another upcoming event, which continues to keep the issue at the forefront of people’s minds, is Zero Waste Week (held on the 5th-9th September 2022). Communities, businesses and individuals are encouraged to look at what they’re buying and to think about how they can opt for more sustainable choices. The idea is to trial a week without single-use plastic, and then see if you can continue those changes for the longer-term.
Whether it’s choosing purchases with less packaging, remembering to take reusable bags shopping, or using refill stations for detergents – there are plenty of small lifestyle changes that together can create a bigger impact.
These campaigns are all fantastic for boosting awareness. Anything that highlights an environmental issue and gets people talking and considering solutions together is great. But, in addition to reducing and reusing, what can we do about the litter that is already on our streets and in our oceans?
Turning plastic waste into worth
We’ve already looked at what individuals can do to make a difference, but businesses have a clear responsibility to evolve their practices and focus on ethical innovation and development too.
How do we do this? We teamed up with Plastic Bank and the Eden Project to revolutionise how we treat waste materials. The collaboration offers a complete transformation in how furniture is made and fundamentally changes the impact for the better. In 2022, we launched the Nassau collection, powered by Social Plastic®.
The new collection is created from recycled waste materials that have been gathered from beaches and waterways. It’s still plastic, but reinvented! This innovative process supports disadvantaged communities out of poverty and helps to tidy up our world at the same time.
Our work makes a real difference to the lives of vulnerable coastal communities, who become collectors in Plastic Bank’s ethical recycling system. The collectors remove plastic waste from their local shorelines and in return receive a stable income and assistance with family essentials such as groceries, school tuition, health insurance, cooking fuel and more.
The impact of ethical plastic
This is furniture designed with sustainability at its heart. By giving plastic waste value, we’re bringing abandoned materials back into the supply chain for another lease of life. This helps to reduce pollution, preserve precious resources, save energy, and cut down on the amount of rubbish in our natural environment.
To create the new collection, 220,000kg of waste plastic has been removed from shorelines and the equivalent of 11,000,000 plastic bottles have been prevented from entering our oceans to date. We’re committed to using the equivalent of 13.2million abandoned bottles in the first year alone. Not only that, but the project has also supported more than 400 people to litter pick their way out of poverty.
The significant environmental and social impact means that anyone who chooses the Nassau collection will be bringing furniture home that makes a real difference in the world. In addition, we hope our work encourages other manufacturers to look at new, greener ways to do things. We want a world where all companies choose to put environmental and social needs first.