“Plastic waste is one of the great environmental scourges of our time.” So said Prime Minister Theresa May in a speech earlier this year, something that marks the first and only time that I’m likely to agree with anything the Brexit-battered PM says.
From household plastic waste littering our beaches, to wildlife starving to death on a diet of discarded plastic debris in the southern oceans, the planet is now in grave danger from a never-ending rising tide of plastic.
But whilst the images of turtles entangled in plastic waste are grim, there is actually reason to be hopeful, and that hope comes from us: consumer power.
The good news is that we’re now witnessing one of the biggest ever public responses to any environmental issue of recent times.
“There’s been a huge surge in the grassroots plastics-free movement from community beach cleaners to campaigns against single-use plastics,” states Hugo Tagholm, chief executive of Surfers Against Sewage.
“Companies may try and wriggle out of questions from campaigners or journalists but when it’s their customers telling them ‘I shop with you and want to stay shopping with you so please stop producing this pointless plastic,’ that’s an important moment,” says Elena Polisano from Greenpeace.