Human behaviour

Much is written about the damage the plastics cause but they do not do it by themselves.  We all need to take responsibility for our behaviour and the value we place on the materials that we use.

Take responsibility for the things we buy

As consumers, we assume that natural materials are the best choice environmentally but that is not necessarily the case.  Unbleached, undyed cotton uses large quantities of hazardous chemicals and high levels of water during its production.[1] 

Take responsibility for the way we dispose of things

We need to change people’s behaviour when it comes to waste – too many people are littering  and have the attitude that rubbish is ‘not my problem’-  someone else will clean it up.

We need to remember that just because something is biodegradable doesn’t mean we are free to dump it in the street.

The UK government need to take responsibility for our recycling. Up until recently much of the UK’s recycling was sent to China.  Since 2012, the UK has exported 2.7 million tonnes of plastic waste to China and Hong Kong, which is two-thirds of the UK’s plastic waste exports.  But as of January 2018, China put a ban on plastics imports. [2]

We need recycling plants in this country and we need the government to see the value of the material they have been sending out to China – we should keep that value in this country.

Take responsibility for the things we design and make

Designers and manufacturers need to make good use of this valuable resource.  We can put a value on the material that is already in the ocean and start making it into things – for example, the Ecover bottle (1) and Raw for the Oceans hat (2) - or we can divert the waste before it reaches the sea – like the Bureo skateboard (3).



[1] Paul Burall, Green Design (London: The Design Council, 1991).  39

[2] Sandra Laville, ‘Chinese Ban on Plastic Waste Imports Could See UK Pollution Rise | Environment | The Guardian’, Guardian Online, 2017… [accessed 20 February 2018].