Plan Plastic, 5 Pollution Reducing Projects from Waitrose
Apr 27 2021
In 2019, British supermarket chain Waitrose & Partners launched its ‘Plan Plastic – The Million Pound Challenge’ scheme. In essence, the initiative was intended to use the money from the sale of 5p single-use plastic bags to fund projects aimed at tackling the problem of plastic pollution.
This issue is an increasingly serious one, with an estimated eight million tonnes of plastic ending up in our oceans every year. More still find their way into the atmosphere in the form of airborne plastics, the long-term health ramifications of which are still not fully understood.
As a result, Waitrose picked five innovative start-ups and schemes from across the UK which targeted reducing the amount of plastic waste present in our environment. The winning schemes, which received grants of between £150,000 and £300,000, are as follows:
A joint initiative spearheaded by Biohm and Onion Collective, this facility is investigating how mycelium, which is the root component of mushrooms, can break down and digest particles of plastic pollution. The initiative has also been important in rehabilitating a disused paper mill and providing jobs for members of the local community, as well.
For this project, City to Sea teamed with Women’s Environmental Network (WEN) to educate 724 teachers and nurses and deliver informative, taboo-busting talks on the environmental ramifications of menstruation to thousands of students across the UK. They also discussed more sustainable alternatives to conventional period products.
Message in a Bottle
The Youth Hostels Association (YHA) have removed single-use plastic water bottles from their kiosks, vending machines and receptions, instead installing over 100 publicly accessible water fountains. This will allow even members of the general public to refill their water bottles while on the go and is expected to save around half a million bottles per year.
When plastics enter our seas and oceans, they can break down into potentially even more dangerous microplastics, which can be ingested by marine animals. This project demonstrated how mussels can help to filter out these microplastics from the natural environment, paving the way for this organic solution to be used at estuaries and coastal waters across Britain in the future.
Fishing equipment that has been lost or abandoned at sea is a major source of marine plastic pollution. Safegear, the brainchild of the Blue Marine Foundation, is a simple-to-use and cost-effective beacon which helps to solve that enduring problem. The hardware has already been trialled at more than one hundred locations across the South of England, proving to be a big hit with the fishing community.
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