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Sebastian Munden reviews the impact of Blue Planet II in The Grocer

How this one TV programme changed the conversation around plastic waste for good

Sebastian Munden

In the decades to come, we’ll look back on the period following Blue Planet II in wonder. Not just impressed how this one TV programme could be such a catalyst for change in the UK on such a significant scale, but future generations will be bewildered that the world has managed to get to the point where plastic pollution had become the norm.

At the time of it being aired in November 2017, the need for the circular economy was established and the desire for change amongst industry was well formed. The high street coffee chains were already incentivising the use of reusable cups, and many retailers were introducing environmentally friendly packaging. In our own business, we’d been working to achieve our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) target to halve waste and had committed to ensuring all our plastic packaging is fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025 as well as increasing recycled plastic content in our packaging to 25%.

As industry, this is the time to bring everyone together to create economically scaled solutions (from packaging suppliers to waste management companies, retailers and brand owners) via endeavours such as the UK Plastics Pact. Not only does the Plastics Pact enable industry to lead the agenda and drive action, but most importantly, it forces us to collaborate to find the right solutions to challenges that we can’t solve individually. It’s great to see the reception the Plastics Pact has received to date as we start to focus on delivering the changes needed.

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