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Start an environmental network this Earth Day

Today is Earth Day – a movement of over 192 countries driving positive action for our planet.

You can support the movement by starting an environmental network within your organisation with the help of the Preventing Plastic Pollution project to inspire positive behaviour change.

Why plastic?

Up to twelve million tonnes of plastic enters the oceans every year*. That is as much as a bin lorry every single minute. This plastic has many impacts on the natural world, including animal entanglement, and being ingested by animals.

Plastic consumption is part of the climate emergency. Plastic is made from fossil fuels such as oil and coal, and our high plastic demand relies on continued drilling for fossil fuels which release greenhouse gases.

Single-use plastic products account for 50% of all plastic produced. By challenging resource consumption behaviours, avoiding single-use items, and transitioning from a consumer to a citizen, we can all contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

This is particularly important on Earth Day which raises awareness of the need to protect Earth’s natural resources for future generations.

The Plastic Champions Network, UK

The Environment Agency’s Plastic Champions Network is a national network of 600+ people across 39 government departments which connects, inspires and supports individuals who are passionate about tackling plastic pollution. The network aims to educate others by sharing messages and awareness to motivate others to reduce their avoidable plastic waste.

In 2021, 1,034 volunteer hours were recorded, and 258 bags of litter were removed from the environment by plastic champions. Along with 700+ sustainable actions to reduce avoidable plastic waste.

There are many benefits to being a plastic champion. Feedback from plastic champions include: ‘making a difference by working together’, ‘making any difference, however small, to my learning regarding plastics and the education of others’ and ‘knowing there are like-minded people who have great ideas’.

Due to the network’s success, it has been replicated in English county councils as well as French organisations such as LABOCEA.  A ‘How to Guide’ to creating and sustaining an environmental network has helped LABOCEA start their own ‘Champions PPP’ network.

Champions PPP Network, France

The Plastic Champions Network was launched in July 2021 under the name of “Champions PPP” in LABOCEA. To date, the 24 registered “Champions PPP” have collected 32 kg of waste, avoided at least 120 plastic water bottles (1.5L) per month by using tap water and reusable glass bottles. The network has focused on finding reusable alternatives to single-use plastic in the bathroom and kitchen, with ideas and tips like home-made yoghurt, which has led to a reduction of at least 204 yoghurt pots and lids every month.

Why not start a new network with our ‘How to Guide’?

So, what are you waiting for? Download the ‘How to start a network guide’ in French or English to start making changes to reduce your own plastic footprint and empower others in your organisation to take steps towards preventing plastic pollution.

Follow @Plastic_EU for Preventing Plastic Pollution updates.

*Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean, Jambeck et al, 2015