We’re over the moon to announce that City To Sea is our 1% For The Planet non-profit partners. We’re donating 1% of our annual website revenue to a cause that we wholeheartedly believe in. They are dedicated to reducing plastic pollution by engaging with communities, working with retailers and lobbying manufacturers and the government. City to Sea is reversing the trend for disposable items in order to safeguard our seas for the future.
“Our vision is for the world’s waterways and coastlines to be strewn with sticks, sand and seaweed … not plastic!” – City To Sea
With three hugely successful campaigns (Refill, Unflushables and #SWITCHTHESTICK) under their belt, City To Sea has utilised social media channels to share their video content, accumulating millions of views raising awareness of a mass problem.
We work to live and take every opportunity to jump in the sea for a surf, take strike missions to the mountains or play in the concrete jungle. We live and breathe adventure and relish the opportunities and challenges that our wonderful planet presents to us. Witnessing the self-destruction of our own planet first hand is hard to miss; whether it’s plastic littered beaches or relentless single-use cups on the pavement… something’s going to snap. As a business we’ve removed all plastic from our operations, using fully biodegradable cornstarch parcel chips with paper tape on our parcels rather than plastic. Moving forward we’re also working with our brands to reduce plastic being sent with products.
It was only a natural step for us to work with such a passionate and determined non-profit partner. We will be working together with City To Sea to continue support of their amazing work.
City To Sea is led by the awe-inspiring Natalie Fee, an environmental speaker, presenter and dedicated change-maker. Constantly pushing to challenge the government, local authorities and manufacturers. We spoke to Natalie to see how everything came together and what the plans are going forward.
What was the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak, that took you from shocked observer to non-profit co-founder?
Well, it wasn’t actually a straw. It was the abundance of plastic waste washing up on the banks of the River Severn which I would see on a daily basis. And after watching ‘Albatross’ by Chris Jordan, which for me, was a call to action; I had never been so deeply moved by any environmental damage or footage as I had by that. At that point I decided to do something about it… I was at the time, dabbling in writing, which I still do, and I realised a song that I had written would work really for a music video about plastic pollution. I started off with a Crowdfunding campaign, which raised around £6k to make a new film about plastic pollution. It was here, after realising the film that I had grown momentum with connections and individual supporters and I thought, “hey, I could do more than make a music video” and that is how City To Sea was born.
What do you think is the biggest barrier we face to reduce plastic pollution?
I would say our addiction to convenience. We expect things to be available to us 24 hours a day. Our lifestyles are such that, we’re constantly looking for quick fixes – the coffee on the go, the meals delivered, it all adds up.
If there was a single change that everybody would make, what would you like it to be?
It would be for people to reuse and refill, and enjoy the satisfaction that comes with reducing the amount of single-use plastic that you are using. Ideally, we would like people to be refusing single-use plastics altogether, which can, in turn, create a better lifestyle that comes with it; from cooking all of your own food and leading a healthier lifestyle. But changing the single-use culture and getting people to refill and reuse would be a massive step forward.
Following on from talks of the government introducing a tax on single-use coffee cups, what further steps do you think the government needs to be taking to help with this issue?
I think it’s great that they’re thinking about introducing the taxes for the single-use coffee cups, we actually ran a petition with 38 Degrees to introduce a levy for all single-use items such as straws, polystyrene takeaway boxes and plastic cups in bars, because it really does help people nudge towards using a reusable. So, I think the government could introduce a levy for single-use plastics in its entirety, as well as introducing a deposit-return scheme for plastic bottles and supporting more reuse and refill initiatives such as our Refill campaign. Recycling facilities in the UK also need to be improved rather than exporting our plastics elsewhere.
Having been a speaker at a TedX talk and been given an honorary title by Bristol City Council, you’re obviously doing something right. What have you and City To Sea got in the pipeline for 2018?
Well, we’ve got something really exciting coming up for our Refill campaign in 2018 with our London station going ahead in partnership with Thames Water. This will be really exciting to see how our capital city takes to the Refill Initiative. We’ve also got some massive plans in the pipeline, which I can’t quite announce right now, but have plans to expand Refill across the UK and beyond… in terms of our other work, we’re redeveloping the Refill app, working with our partners to bring some great rewards and creating a really meaningful app for all of the Refill users. Going forward, again we will be applying more pressure on the government to launch an inquiry into the use of single-use with our collaborative 38 Degrees petition, which has around 100,000 signatures.
And finally, what can we all do to get involved with City To Sea?
We generally communicate our story and news across both Facebook and Twitter. You can share the regular content that’s being posted as well as watching and sharing my TedX talk and if you wish, make a single or ongoing contribution.
Head over to City To Sea and show your support