June saw an unprecedented heatwave in Central Europe and climate change was firmly on the agenda throughout the month. World Oceans Day and Plastic-Free Beauty Day took place in June to help raise awareness on the pollution and damage plastic is causing to our oceans.
By now, the war on plastic is news to nobody with the media’s attention focusing on the catastrophic effects plastic is having on our oceans. So, there’s no surprise that plastic reduction is now a global business priority for brands. It’s believed the equivalent of a truck-load of plastic is being emptied into the world’s oceans every minute, and it’s predicted that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
However, June was a successful month for plastic reduction for businesses; it saw Glastonbury go plastic-free, Corona introduce a new packaging design to stop plastic connector rings and Boots announce that it is set to ban plastic bags, switching to brown paper bags.
Praise was given to Glastonbury in the media as the festival went completely plastic-free for the first time in history and people’s responses to the festival’s efforts were amazing.
The legendary Sir David Attenborough stunned thousands of Glastonbury-goers as he made a surprise appearance on the Pyramid Stage just before Kylie Minogue performance, to thank audiences for cutting down their plastic use.
He told the 100,000-strong crowd: “This great festival has gone plastic-free! That is more than a million bottles of water that have not been drunk by you in plastic. Thank you! Thank you!”
Sir David Attenborough’s speech landed lots of positive coverage and was some people’s Glastonbury highlight.
Many took to social media to speak about Attenborough’s surprise speech and to say what an amazing job ‘The Attenborough Effect’ is having on reducing plastic waste by influencing people to save our oceans and reduce single-use plastic.
Corona’s innovative new packaging
As the arguments against single-use plastic continue to build, brands across the globe are looking for ways to rework their packaging – including Mexican beer company, Corona.
With the beverage industry generating 17 million tons of plastic packaging worldwide per year, Corona has found an innovative way to counteract the plastic connector rings used to hold together packs of canned beverages, called Fit Packs.
In June, a campaign from Corona introduced Fit Packs and the innovative packaging means beer cans can screw into one another vertically for a long, pole-like six-pack, without the need for any additional material. The assembly system connects at the bottom and top of each can, so several of them can be screwed into each other and create stacks. It’s an innovation that can be scaled on a global level, solving the plastic problem.
The packaging is currently in the testing phase and Corona is hoping that the can design will eventually start a trend within the beer industry.
Boots to phase out plastic bags
At the end of June it was announced that Boots will phase out all plastic bags from its stores by 2020, replacing them with brown paper bags.
Boots’ 2,485 stores will no longer offer plastic bags at checkouts from early next year, removing 40 million plastic bags a year from use, meaning 900 tonnes of plastic will not pollute our oceans.
The Boots managing director, Sebastian James, said: “Plastic waste is undoubtedly one of the most important issues around the world today, with TV shows like Blue Planet highlighting the effects of plastic pollution … The move to unbleached paper bags is another pivotal moment in that journey.
“There is no doubt that our customers expect us to act and this change signifies a huge step away from our reliance on plastic.”
Boots will charge customers for the new unbleached brown paper bags and will donate all profits to BBC’s Children in Need. Charges will be 5p, 7p and 10p, depending on size.
This July at Wolfstar, we will all be conscious of reducing our single-use plastic and we hope you will be too – we’ve only got one planet!