Plastic pollution is a global problem and we at Changing Streams would love you to join us so we can tackle this issue together. We are building a global community bringing together politicians, scientists and industry for the common good of the planet. Collectively and individually we need to learn the lessons from the response to the COVID19 pandemic and take it to a higher level to avoid a devastating catastrophe in the future.
We are particularly keen to engage with policy-makers in governments at international, regional and local level so we can work together to significantly reduce plastic, starting with the built environment.
The core Changing Streams team is based in the UK in the port city of Liverpool and our vision is global; this is a collective effort and we want you to get actively involved to save the future of the planet before it is too late.
We do not underestimate the challenges we face – from those with vested interests in resisting change, to people who simply want to put off very difficult decisions until a later date ; unfortunately time is not something we have in abundance right now.
On the positive front, much important work has already begun – indeed it began many years ago.
Did you know that the first Earth Day was established 50 years ago in 1970 when 20 million Americans (that’s 20% of the US population) took to the streets to voice their concerns about the way in which governments were treating the environment? It’s widely believed that one of the effects of this mass action led to the creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the National Environmental Education Clean Education Act and the Clean Air Act, to name just three major legislative actions.
According to the official Earth Day website, these laws have protected millions of men, women and children from disease and death, protecting hundreds of species from extinction in the process.
In the UK the Local Government Association says that nearly two-thirds of councils in England aim to be carbon neutral by 2030, with more than 230 local authorities having already declared a climate emergency.
The words have been followed by action too with many councils reviewing their local waste policies to reduce plastic waste and encouraging communities to do the same by running practical workshops and offering advice on how to reduce use of plastic.
In the UK during Plastic-Free July, councils are being encouraged to carry out audits of their waste procedures via bin audits and form ‘green teams’ to review procurement procedures and encourage more environmentally-friendly policies.
Initiatives like these are springing up throughout the world.
Canada has pledged to ban single-use plastics by 2021, and India by 2022.
At Changing Streams we believe the key to reducing plastic pollution is to curb consumption whether that’s by reducing or eradicating the use all types of single-use plastic items from carrier bags and straws to packaging and building materials such as paint and plaster.
Over the next few years we will be working with our partners to establish the precise level of plastic content materials used in the building industry and, crucially, source alternatives; tacking the problem at source, rather than simply recycling.
The US-based Revelator magazine reports that “several states have banned the sale and manufacture of health and beauty products which contain exfoliating plastic beads. After several states and municipalities banned the sale and manufacture of health and beauty products containing these ecologically damaging exfoliating plastic beads, the United States passed a federal act doing the same.”
Banning single-use plastic products is a more useful strategy for reducing plastic use and pollution than recycling. A ban also tackles the issue at the source, helping to curb greenhouse gases coming from the rapidly expanding petrochemical industry that uses fossil fuels to produce plastic.
Plastic bag legislation has receive significant publicity over the past few years with more supermarket chains offering alternatives and although this is useful and needs to be encouraged much more needs to be done – anything the public sector can do either by leading through example, through best practice or legislation gets us one step closer towards our goals. If you work in the public sector and want to find out more about how to become involved in Changing Streams subscribe to our monthly newsletter and if you have any specific questions or want to speak to a member of the Changing Stream team email firstname.lastname@example.org