| by Drew Middleton
Launched in 2016, the relatively new #OneLess campaign aims to awaken Londoners and the UK’s eyes to the ever-growing issues surrounding plastic pollution.
We break down the campaign’s key goals, the importance of the ocean and Thames in London and Selfridges’ Project Ocean. Alongside this, we help define how to make your pledge, seek environmentally friendly alternatives to plastic and create a community that actively tackles plastic pollution.
The One Less Campaign was launched by Zoological Society of London (ZSL) in conjunction with nine Marine CoLABoration partners. It’s purpose: to abolish and rid the UK’s capital city of single-use plastic water bottles by 2021.
ZSL, commonly referred to as London Zoo, promotes worldwide conservation for animals and habitats.
Their angle with this movement is to protect oceanic environments (and bodies of water, such as rivers and lakes) from pollution and harmful waste caused by disposable plastic.
“We welcome more than one million visitors a year to ZSL London Zoo, and that’s one million people we can inspire to help protect the world’s oceans” - Kathryn England, Head of Commercial at ZSL
Both the ZSL London and Whipsnade zoos have now removed all plastic bottles from their shelves. It’s a decision that’s made positive headline news across the UK as 76% of plastic (almost four tons worth) is not reused or recycled.
Their sustainable narrative is applicable planet-wide, however, London is fast becoming an important port of call for immediate influential action.
“As Londoners, our lives are inextricably linked to the ocean through the River Thames”
Rivers transport oxygen, water, clean air, fish, nutrients and weather between ocean and land. In the case of the River Thames, these elements of nature are funneled from the North Sea to the City of London.
Unmistakably, these open areas of sea water can become contaminated when humans dispose of plastic defined as ‘single-use’ i.e. bottles/containers/bags which are generally used once before being discarded.
These tend not to be reusable or recycled, and some are manufactured with potentially harmful chemicals. With changes in water currents, plastic can float from the Thames to the ocean where it may reside and pollute for centuries.
Poisonous chemicals also leach into the ecosystem as they float and degrade. Horrible thought, no?
Many laws across the globe now aim to counteract plastic pollution including: a 5p charge per supermarket carrier bag used in the UK, both France nationwide and Delhi (capital city of India) banning disposable plastic etc.
Put simply, this is London’s next best effort to follow suite and become an example of a more eco-friendly city leading the environmental cause in Europe.
“We aim to drive awareness of the serious threat plastic poses to our oceans; in particular single-use plastic bottles” - Alannah Weston, Deputy Chairman of Selfridges Group
First launched in 2011, high-end department store Selfridges in partnership with ZSL set-up ‘Project Ocean’: an annual commitment to fight the growing problem of plastic.
Its main goals are to reduce harmful waste and facilitate behavioral changes around plastic usage in everyday society.
Their primary mission: to protect 10% of the world’s oceans by 2020.
By educating the general public of the ‘Reduce - Reuse - Recycle’ system for plastic, their narrative is thought-provoking. One simple method is to invest in a reusable glass, steel (or BPA-free plastic) water bottle.
This will cut your use of disposable plastic while allowing you to refill and hydrate regularly, then recycle in the far future. Watch the Project Ocean info-video below:
However, in 2015, Selfridges’ most noteworthy statement was made by removing all single-use plastic water bottles from their food halls and restaurants across the UK. This accounted for around 400,000 bottles each year - which makes for a huge reduction in plastic waste.
From unique food events to artistically gripping window installations and limited edition retail items, the success of Project Ocean continues.
It has helped pave the way for new campaigns such as #OneLess which provide both powerful and personal environmental messages.
Many of us possess a certain level of apathy when it comes to our own personal waste. This mindset can be recalibrated via consistent education and awareness campaigns, yet both individual and community changes need to happen… now.
The #OneLess campaign recommends a small switch, from purchasing shop-bought water bottles to carrying a refillable bottle daily, as a pledge to ocean care.
To read up on further inspiring topics and understand the raw facts, see our articles that report on and investigate plastic and its pollutive lifecycle:
Through 🌧 or ☀️, your #EauGood filter bottle keeps you hydrated. Learn more about the many benefits of buying our reusable water bottles and how Binchotan charcoal purifies your ordinary tap water 💦💦💦 | www.boxappetit.co.uk/collections/charcoal-filters-products/binchotan-charcoal-x3 📷 Image Credit: @yasloves
The most eco-friendly options available to you are reusable bottles made from glass or stainless steel. Ideally, you want to invest in one that you can carry on the go for hydration whenever require it.
Glass and steel materials help to dramatically reduce your carbon footprint. They are sustainable, greener than plastic and they are easily recycled materials alongside paper, cardboard, and wood.
However, if you are going to use plastic on a daily basis, ensure it’s reusable and chemical-free. There’s no need to buy bottled water, juice and fizzy drinks from the shop.
This is not only an expensive method of hydration but the number of plastic bottles that become part of landfill is obscene, with between 5.5 and 14.6 million tons entering the ocean each year.
Refill your bottle when you have access to drinkable water and you are good to go.
ZSL’s efforts do not stop at personal commitments. Inspire your close friends, family, colleagues and social media connections to make the pledge against plastic.
To do this, simply: take a selfie or photo with your refillable bottle, then post in social media (Twitter, Instagram) with the hashtag #OneLess - and be sure to tag @OneLessBTL if tweeting.
Also word of mouth, real-world conversation and debate can go far. Openly speaking about environmental topics such as climate change, animal conservation, and plastic pollution can inspire people to take action. It’s healthy to do so.
If you are a business owner too, consider removing all single-use bottles from the office environment and replace with alternatives or water fountains. A tactic that has been proven for communal everyday change.
We, as a design company, believe in the One Less campaign’s message passionately. It’s a fantastic building block for environmental change and we consider sustainability at every stage of our product development.
How can we be more environmentally friendly? How do our designs benefit the planet, now and in future?
If London - one of the Western world’s most prestigious, historic and diverse cities - can reduce its high levels of plastic pollution and harmful waste, it can inspire others to follow in its green footsteps.
To learn more about ZSL’s One Less campaign, email: [email protected]
So are you making the One Less pledge? Let us know by voting below…