The future of life on earth depends on our ability to take action
Sir David Attenborough
Action on Plastic is a Gloucestershire-based initiative concerned with plastic pollution and solutions to reduce it. Our focus is on providing individuals, organisations and communities with information, ideas, tools and resources to reduce their plastic footprint.
We’re keen to hear from Gloucestershire communities who are interested in signing up to the Plastic Free Communities award by the marine conservation charity, Surfers Against Sewage. On this website we share what we have learned in obtaining this accreditation for the Stroud district in 2020 and the tools we have developed. We would love to connect with plastic free groups across Gloucestershire and anyone else locally who sees the urgent need to reduce our plastic footprint.
Action on Plastic is an initiative run by Stroud District Action on Plastic (SDAP for short). In 2022, SDAP was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services. Our steering group consists of 19 volunteers from different parts of the Stroud District. Our cause is supported by other volunteers who join us on projects and campaigns across the district. We are governed by a constitution with members, and an elected chair, secretary and treasurer. We are a not for profit organisation, with all donations being used to develop the group’s activities. Funds from our sponsors are held in a treasurers’ bank account.
Following her family’s experiment of zero plastic for a year in 2016, Claudi originally started our volunteer group to work with the local community on reducing plastic use and waste (later to become SDAP) together with Kath Child at Atelier Stroud. Claudi works at the Beeswax Wrap Company, a local B-corp business. She has spoken on BBC news and radio programmes, festivals, events and many local venues. In 2021 Claudi published ‘Small Steps to Less Waste’.
Chloe is a district and county councillor for Minchinhampton, and Chair of the Environment Committee at Stroud District Council. As our project coordinator, prior to being elected, she worked with numerous local businesses, schools and other organisations interested in improving their plastic footprint. A chartered accountant by profession, Chloe writes short fiction and keeps bees in her spare time.
James is a co-founder of SDAP and Action on Plastic. His background is in local food networks and in reducing waste and he currently sits on the boards of Stroudco and the OpenFoodNetwork UK, leading projects on food distribution. James recently stepped off the board of Keep Britain Tidy, one of the UK’s leading waste reduction charities. By profession James is a lawyer and he enjoys a wide range of outdoor pursuits.
We are extremely grateful to the Laura Kinsella Foundation and The Summerfield Charitable Trust, whose support has enabled us to reach out into the Stroud district community, and into the wider county beyond. If you wish to make a donation, please contact us.
Plastic waste began to generate serious news coverage in the wake of the Blue Planet II documentary series in 2017. But not everyone is aware yet of the sheer scale of the problem.
‘Breaking the Plastic Wave’ is a new 2020 report from the PEW Trusts (a collaboration between Oxford University, Leeds University, The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Common Seas). Plastic production was first developed in the 19th century. The report explains that during the 20th century, plastic production soared from 2 million metric tons in 1950 to 348 million metric tons in 2017. Plastic production has become a global industry valued at US$522.6 billion, and is expected to double in capacity yet again by 2040. This growth is bad news particularly for our oceans which are already grossly polluted by plastic waste and microplastics. “Without action, the annual flow of plastic into the ocean will nearly triple by 2040, to 29 million metric tons per year (range: 23 million-37 million metric tons per year), equivalent to 50 kg of plastic for every metre of coastline worldwide.”
In 2020, a new documentary The Story of Plastic from The Story of Stuff team uncovers the economic reality of the plastics cycle and Big Oil’s role in it, along with the human and environmental costs of this vast, global industry.
How do we fix this? ‘Breaking the Plastic Wave’ advocates a System Change Scenario, which would reduce plastic pollution by 80% by 2040 based on existing technologies. This requires coordinated and motivated input from government and industry globally. Let’s hope they get there.