At Plastic Oceans UK, we’ve always taken a balanced and scientifically-backed view of plastic use. We’re not an ‘anti-plastic’ charity. Instead, we believe in becoming Plastic Intelligent. Plastic is an incredibly valuable material – in the right context.

We can see the value of plastic clearly during the current coronavirus crisis. Every day, lives are saved and medical workers protected through the use of Personal Protective Equipment made of plastic. We recognise the valuable and positive role plastic can play, however this doesn’t mean that single-use plastic is right for everything else in our lives. All parts of society need to be reducing our excessive reliance on Pointless Plastic.

Covid-19 cannot be used as a justification for moving backwards in our use of single-use plastics. Several stories have concerned us. From the UK Government delaying the introduction of the ban on pointless plastic straws and cotton buds, to various US states postponing a range of bans and charges on unnecessary single-use plastics.

Debunking the Myth Around Single Use Plastic 

Upstream Solutions dispel the idea that single-use items are more hygienic than reusables for personal use in relation to the spread of Covid-19. In simple terms, a reusable item you’ve sanitised is a lower risk than single-use items where you have no information on its exposure in the supply chain.

Coronavirus is not a reason to roll back environmental protection. During these unprecedented times, we are able to see the environmental degradation in part caused by human behaviour. In fact, the lack of human activity in certain parts of the world is allowing scientists to record levels of environmental recovery. But what can each of us do, especially in the middle of a pandemic lockdown?

What Can We Do in Lockdown?

Plastic pollution is not just an oceans issue. It’s a climate issue and it’s a human health issue. Being in lockdown is a unique opportunity for each of us to do something exceptional, and focus in on our own behaviours.

Whilst we are in lockdown, we are inviting you to join us with some fun and meaningful challenges that can be done at home. Taking up a challenge today gives the perfect setting to learn how to be part of the solution.  Experimenting with the different ways of preventing plastic pollution can benefit your own life and also contribute to Climate Action. Just like plastic pollution, climate change is closely linked to overconsumption – reducing unnecessary uses of plastic helps to reduce the embedded carbon impacts of every product we decide to buy.

By taking up the challenge now, you’ll embedded new positive habits and once life goes back to normal, it will be easier for you to carry on creating more new positive habits.

This might end up being the best time to experiment with starting new habits that can last beyond the lock down?*

Fun challenge: The Treasure Hunt

Goal: Identify #PointlessPlastic products in your daily life and come up with a creative #IntelligentAction to stop bringing them into your life for good.

Tips: You could involve any young changemakers around you or assign different rooms to different family members or housemates – is there more pointless plastic in the kitchen or in the bathroom? Who gets more creative at identifying solutions? Any fans of worksheets out there, check out our fun Plastic Treasure Hunt Activity Sheet aimed at getting young changemakers involved in better understanding the pointlessness of single-use plastic and how to design their own solutions.

Bonus points: Rank the top five items first based on how pointless they are and then on how difficult it is to phase them out of your life – what are the barriers to change and who is responsible for those? Share the analysis!

Want change to stick? Share what you’re doing and Tag a friend!

We’d love to hear about the plastic habit you’re tackling whilst in lockdown. Share pics using #IntelligentAction and tag @PlasticOceansUK

Challenge friends, family and colleagues to get involved by tagging them in your post and asking ‘What’s your #IntelligentAction challenge?’ #ClimateAction #EarthOptimism

Further Reading:

*If you’re interested to read more about how to change habits, we’re loving reading ‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg.

Check out Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s report Completing the Picture: How the Circular Economy Tackles Climate Change, on the hidden carbon emissions linked to material use, and CIEL’s report Plastic & Climate: The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet