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Trash Talk campaign

May 8

Written by:
08/05/2018 09:51  RssIcon

Guest blog from Pippa Moyle on the consumer-led Trash Talk campaign and how it hopes to phase out packaging waste 


Have you ever gone to unwrap your online order and thought “I’m throwing away more packaging than the product I’ve just bought?” Or gone to buy a pair of avocados and have been baffled by the black tray, plastic cover and plastic wrapping that’s surrounding it? 

You’ll struggle to find someone who’s gone a week without having a gripe about packaging.

Sure, it may look pretty, but it just ends up in the bin - and it’s not entirely clear whether or not it’s actually protecting the product you bought.


Image: Plastic packaging

Image: Packaging Trash Talk


I’m growing a global social network for young women living in cities, known as the City Girl Network. It’s around 2 years old and based in Brighton, Bristol, Edinburgh, Manchester, Berlin and Birmingham.

We’re an offline community, using online tools to connect with each other, and we’ve helped thousands of women find housemates, travel companions, new jobs, new friends and things to do in their city. 

And woven amongst the many conversations our girls have had sharing their life dramas, work struggles, relationship issues and celebratory moments have been those little anedotal gripes about packaging. 

We’re not the only community to have these discussions, either. They’re happening in family houses, where parents are forever baffled at how quickly their bin fills up. They’re happening in offices, where people can’t believe just how many layers they have to throw away to access their supermarket salad. 

They’re happening in the playground, where kids are playing in the plastic that came from sweets, crisps and well-disguised healthy snacks. 

And they’re happening in government meetings and in the offices of those who are actually producing the packaging - because it’s a problem that can no longer be ignored.

Just last week, 42 major international companies, responsible for more than 80% of the plastic packaging in UK supermarkets, made joint commitments to make unnecessary single-use plastic packaging “a thing of the past”. They’ve called it the ‘Plastic Pact’.

The government have said that they want to eliminate avoidable plastic waste by 2042, with a ban on plastic straws, a tax on takeaway cups and a deposit scheme for single-use plastic drinks containers being just a few of the ideas under consideration. 

But waiting 24 years is quite literally waiting for nearly my entire lifetime so far. 24 years of seeing more rubbish fill our streets and experiencing the damage that it’s doing to our planet is just too long.

Next week, the City Girl Network is asking everyone of every age, gender and location, to take to social media and share those packaging gripes that they’d tell a friend. 

Because with all the promises and the pacts that businesses and government bodies are making - it’s the consumer’s voice that’s missing. 

How can the government or these businesses possibly decide what's 'avoidable plastic waste' without asking the people who buy the products?

Consumer-led change is quicker than brands working in isolation. So, let’s connect brands to the consumer.

It’s here that I feel I should point out that this isn’t about brand bashing - it about both leading and speeding up the changes needed for our planet to survive. 

Our campaign, known as ‘Trash Talk’, is sponsored by Clarity Environmental, who help businesses comply with environmental regulations. They offer the bridge between consumers and manufacturers, to ensure that our conversations lead to action.


How to get involved in Trash Talk

There are two equally important ways that you can get involved in this campaign:

1. Volunteer to collect all of the packaging for everything that you buy in the week so that we can calculate your carbon footprint.

2. Share examples on social media of packaging that you find unnecessary and how this could be improved. This can either be on our dedicated Facebook Group and/or through your social media network of choice using the #TrashTalk hashtag.


What happens next

After the week's over, we'll be producing a whitepaper highlighting consumer attitudes towards packaging, the carbon footprint of packaging collected by all of our volunteers in the week and the most talked-about issues across social media. 

Later in the year, we'll be putting on a panel event, asking key decision makers and designers for their thoughts on our findings.

Until now, packaging has been based on assumptions. The bigger the box, the better the toy.

Sure, it’s a great sales tool. Lots of layers and big boxes have worked in the past. But consumer attitudes are changing. We’re becoming more informed and protecting the environment is starting to become higher on everyone’s agenda. 

You only need to look at the fast-growth of keep cup users over the convenience of a takeaway cup that you don’t have to carry around to see that. 

It’s time to take control over the conversation about packaging waste and take the Trash Talks we’re all having behind closed doors into a louder, faster space. 

Join our Trash Talk, tell everyone you Trash Talk with and sign up for updates over on our website.









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