War declared on plastic waste. Are we on track for a cleaner, greener Britain?

PM Theresa May promises that the UK will become international leaders on environmental issues, as she unveils a 25 year environmental plan

With plastic pollution at ‘near permanent levels of contamination to the natural environment’, down to humans having produced 8.3bn tonnes of the material since the 1950s, it’s fitting that the plans focus heavily on plastic waste. Proposed policies include plastic free aisles in supermarkets, extending the levy on plastic bags, increased funding for research and a tax on takeaway containers. 

After the hugely successful 5p levy on plastic bags, which saw 70% more shoppers switch to reusable shopping bags, May has promised to extend the levy to smaller shops. In a similar vein, we may soon see the levy charged on single-use plastic takeaway containers.

Another plan is to encourage supermarkets to introduce aisles without any plastic packaging, where products would instead be sold loose and collected in your own reusable storage containers. These plans are welcomed by UK consumers after a survey in July 2017 found that nine out of 10 of us demand more plastic free aisles. When comparing the choice to go ‘plastic free’ with dietary preferences like ‘dairy-free’ and ‘fat-free’, where alternative options are widely available, consumers are asking why they don’t get as much of a say about packaging. A number of plastic free supermarkets are already paving the way for zero-waste lifestyles – check out these examples to see how it’s already being done: Bulk Market, LondonThe Zero Waste Shop, Totnes; and In Gredients, Texas.

With a global outlook, the new plans also outline a new ‘plastics innovation’ research fund and aid to support developing nations in dealing with their plastic problems.

Although environmental groups welcome the ambition of the 25 year plan, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn have voiced concerns about the proposals. The biggest criticism being about the lack of immediate action.

The plans aim to stop all avoidable plastic waste by 2042 but the worry is that this may be far too late. The plastic we have already produced will last for hundreds or thousands of years in landfill, in our waterways or the oceans – where impacts of this pollution are devastating. Studies show that 90% of sea birds have eaten plastic and one in three fish caught in the Channel contain pieces of plastic. 

While you wait for the war on plastics to take action, there are plenty of ways to fight plastic waste yourself. At Local Green Points we are engaging residents from across the UK in waste minimisation and we recommend that you:

1) Shop smart – by thinking about the products you buy, you can reduce plastic waste every time you shop. Opt for loose products or those with the least packaging possible.

2) Recycle what you can – lots of plastics can be recycled and turned into something new, preventing the need for production of more raw materials. Check with your local council or the Recycling Locator to see what can be recycled near you.

3) Clean up the mess – no matter where you live, there will be a way you can help clear up plastic waste in your area. You could volunteer for a beach clean, river clear out or local litter pick and your efforts could benefit countless ecosystems. 

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Bethany Fruen

Head of Communications

Bethany Fruen

Since joining Jump fresh out of university back in 2013 I’ve seen many changes in the way we communicate – both as a company and more widely within the sustainability industry. The current shift of sustainability to the mainstream is accelerating at a pace and it’s exciting to be part of this step change.  The insight I get from individual participants in our client programmes is invaluable as it helps me figure out the best way to get our messages across.

My team and I use digital communications to recognise individual and team success, providing information in a fun, meaningful way that encourages people to take action. It’s about creating a feedback loop where people see that their actions are having an impact and this is very powerful in creating positive change within an organisation.


Lawrence Mitchell

Change Management

Lawrence Mitchell

I am Chief Customer Officer of SumoSalad, former Chief Marketing Officer at RELX: Risk & Analytics and Founder of RAW Energy. Having worked in publishing for 20 years, living through the first phases of the digital revolution, I’m used to disruption, uncertainty and transformation. But through all of this, my belief in putting the customer at the heart of an organisation by leveraging data analytics has helped multiple brands innovate, evolve and transform. 

I’m a huge advocate for promoting wellness in the workplace which is central to our Jump mission, and created the award-winning RBI Living Well programme. Through my RAW Energy platform, I support business and community leaders to be more resilient, more authentic and more focused on wellbeing.  A regular contributor to marketing, customer experience and wellness forums, I’ve written three books including Success without Stress: How to Prevent Burnout and Build Resilience for Optimal Health & Performance. 

Mark Lance

Finance & Company Secretary

Mark Lance

I helped Graham set up Jump in 2011 and it’s great to be involved in such a dynamic, growing business where I can apply my specialism in corporate compliance to ensure we are meeting our statutory and financial obligations.  I am an associate of the Association of International Accountants (for whom I also act as a quality advisor) and a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administrators. 

Alongside Jump, I’m a director of Cornhill Group, a corporate service business in London advising the boards of businesses in a wide variety of sectors including shipping, energy, media and aviation, and I’m also a director of a global energy trader. 

Rob Metcalfe

PR & Marketing

Rob Metcalfe

Alongside Jump, I’ve been helping clients get their message across for over 30 years,
most recently as chief executive of Richmond & Towers, the longest
established public relations consultancy in the UK.  A Chartered Marketer,
I’m increasingly helping clients frame their message around sustainability,
particularly in food, waste and energy. The Guardian once described me as being
the “evil genius who got us all hooked on avocados”, a claim I don’t deny.

Since helping Graham get Jump set up in 2011 I’ve enjoyed communicating about a
subject where there is a great willingness among companies and individuals to
do the right thing,  but understanding what practical action to take isn’t
always obvious. 

Graham Simmonds

Chief Executive

Graham Simmonds

As CEO of Jump I lead a talented team of professionals committed to sustainability and wellness.  For much of my 35 year career I’ve been immersed in environmental issues, particularly how to engage people in practical action.  Previously I built Trees for Cities from start-up to a global, award-winning charity as its founding chief executive, and I loved developing new initiatives such as The Edible Playground and the Million Trees Campaign.  

In 2011 I set up Jump as I felt organisations large and small want to motivate action amongst their people around wellbeing and the planet, and a professional team dedicated to this purpose would help them accelerate their journey.  I’m also proud to chair the Reward Gateway Foundation which supports organisations and projects that address inequality and disadvantage, with the ultimate mission of making the world a better, fairer, safer and more equal place to work.