19 Mar 2020
Briefing on ending plastic pollution
Read and download our briefing on what the role of government should be in tackling the plastic crisis.
Demand a stronger Environment Bill
Template joint letter for local media
Please tailor the template below with information specific to your area, by replacting the placeholders italicised below, before sending to local media for publication.
[CONSTITUENCY] MP urged to act on plastic pollution
Dear Letters Editor
Public concern about the impact of plastic pollution remains enormous, fuelled by a steady flow of scientific studies showing its widespread presence in our rivers, oceans, mountains and countryside.
Government responses, such as bans on plastic stirrers and straws, are certainly welcome, but fall far short of the comprehensive measures needed to address the problem.
Care must taken to ensure that any action plan doesn’t just create more waste by simply substituting single-use plastic for another disposable material.
We can’t just tackle plastic pollution and ignore the growing mountains of waste that blight our planet. We need action on both.
The Environment Bill, currently passing through Parliament, provides a perfect opportunity to address both issues.
This is why we are calling on [CONSTITUENCY] [MP NAME] to back calls for the new legislation to include bold and legally-binding targets to reduce plastic pollution, and cut waste.
It’s time to end our throwaway culture.
[FULL NAME], [LOCAL GROUP NAME]
Social media images
You can order materials, including stickers, leaflets and posters to support your campaigning with our order form.
- Demand a stronger Environment Bill so that it tackles plastic pollution.
- Take the Plastic Free Friday pledge and join thousands of people across the UK giving up plastic for one day a week.
- Sign our petition to pile the pressure on the government keep our oceans plastic free.
- Add your name to help get single-use plastic out of sport by giving plastic the red card?
You can download and print a paper version of our petition to keep plastic out of the oceans for your stalls and events.
You can share this local authority Plastic Pledge with your council and ask them to take action to help beat plastic pollution. If you do contact your council, please let us know how you get on by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
#PlasticFreeFootball social media guide
This guide aims to provide football fans with tips on using social media to get pointless plastic out of football. We’re always keen to hear feedback and suggestions for improvement, so please send these to email@example.com
Why are we focusing on football?
Millions of fans watch UK football, and millions of plastic cups are used every year in stadiums. Clubs are hugely influential and a commitment from UK clubs to eliminate single-use plastic would not just make a dent in the problem but would also influence fans locally and worldwide.
In 2019 the Football Supporters Association (FSA) passed a motion noting that “there is a real environmental emergency affecting our planet and that football clubs and their supporters could potentially make an important contribution to tackling that”, adding that the FSA “should support, develop and lead projects that look to improve the environmental impact of the game”.
How can social media help us to get pointless plastic out of football?
Football clubs want to be seen to be doing the right thing. While it’s widely acknowledged that plastic pollution is a huge problem, clubs might not all be are aware just how much fans want them to tackle it.
A YouGov survey of UK football fans last year found that:
84% of fans think Premier League clubs should use reusable or returnable cups at their grounds; and
86% think that Premier League grounds should remove other single use plastic items such as sachets and cutlery where possible.
Social media can help clubs to understand that fans appreciate their efforts and would like them to do as much as possible to get pointless plastic out of football.
What can I do?
Clubs generally don’t respond well to being shamed when they fall short, and it can take time for clubs to change, so please focus on celebrating progress and politely encourage clubs to go further by signing our Plastic Pledge below.
Promote our campaign action on any social media channels you have access to. In addition to showing all clubs that fans want change, this enables us to show clubs exactly how many of their fans want them to sign our Plastic Pledge.
We’re focusing most of our efforts on targeting Premier League clubs in the hope that they’ll influence others, but if you scroll down the dropdown menu you can select 'Other' to enter other clubs.
Tweet using any combination of the following:
@ mentions of relevant clubs, players and supporter / fan groups & associations
Match-day hashtags and our campaign hashtag - #PlasticFreeFootball
If you’re feeling humorous, suggest some potential chants on a plastic-free theme! But please keep it respectful as we’re all on the same team when it comes to tackling pointless plastic!
Our campaign graphic
Search for your club’s supporter/fan groups and ask them to share our campaign action, then explore ways of working together to persuade your club to take our Plastic Pledge.
Leave a message of encouragement on your club’s FB page as a comment.
If you’re at a game, share photos of progress your club is making on reducing single-use plastic (for example, if water taps have been installed or if beer is being served in reusable cups) and use #PlasticFreeFootball and other matchday hashtags (including the one for the game you’re at eg #LIVTOT) to share this with your network and the wider supporter base. Also tag your club so they know you’re interested. Do this during the game if possible to increase attention.
Leave a message on your club’s Instagram posts encouraging them to do more to take action to get single-use plastic out of the beautiful game.
5 short films about plastic
If you’re hosting an event or want something to get people thinking and talking about plastic at your meeting, here are 5 short films about plastic that could help.
Showing a short film can be a great way to introduce a topic and illustrate an issue in a snappy and concise way.
- Here’s Why Plastic is so Much Worse Than You Think (3:20)
Computer animated film showing how plastic ends up in the oceans and is ingested by marine animals, plus some ideas for what you can do to help, including urban cleans, buying plastic-free and recycling.
- How We Can Keep Plastic Out of Our Ocean (3:10)
This short film shows how plastic ends up in the ocean and is broken down into small pieces which are eaten by marine animals. It also looks at how tiny particles of plastic end up back in the soil.
- Plastic ocean (7:28)
A hard-hitting look at how plastic is carried on the ocean currents all over the world and how it affects marine animals and is fed to young birds by their mothers.
- Three Animated Short Films Ocean Plastics
OK so this is technically 3 films, but they’re all really short and very powerful. They’re stop-motion animations by animator and filmmaker Alice Dunseath, illustrating the problem of plastic pollution and how it spreads around the globe, using plastic found on the shores of Britain and Hawaii.
- It’s a Plastic World (4:40)
Short animated film showing how plastic breaks up into tiny pieces and how they end up in the oceans and impact marine life. Warning: the video also talks about impacts on human health - we need to be cautious around this as there currently isn’t enough research out there for us to make these sorts of claims confidently. You could either stop the video half way through or explain that there are concerns about the impacts on our health but that research still needs to be done.
Keep in touch
To contact the Plastics team at Friends of the Earth, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To stay in touch with other Friends of the Earth local groups working on our campaign, join our Facebook group.
Please keep us up to date with all the brilliant things you’re doing by filling in this Google Sheet whenever you do something plastic related. It really helps us keep track of all the amazing work that local groups are doing on the campaign – and it lets you see what other groups are doing to spark ideas for your group.