Danish motivator invites UK food producers to secure consumer confidence by joining war on plastic

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Microplastic has been found in more than 386 fish species, 52% of all sea turtles and over a million seabirds - as well as in human blood. Pic: GettyImages/SolStock
Microplastic has been found in more than 386 fish species, 52% of all sea turtles and over a million seabirds - as well as in human blood. Pic: GettyImages/SolStock

Related tags: ReSea Project, plastic pollution, single use plastic, coronavirus, PPE, Online shopping, ocean pollution

ReSea Project is on a mission to push the agenda for a plastic-free ocean – calling on UK food producers to join the fight.

The Danish company helps brands and service providers embed sustainability and ocean health at the heart of their operations – confident that businesses together have the force to make a real difference.

Microplastic found in human blood

This call to action​ comes as government studies show the UK is reportedly the second biggest generator of plastic waste (just behind the US), with the country’s retail channel responsible for a shocking 800,000+ tonnes of plastic packaging waste every year.

Less than 10% of household plastics is actually recycled and eight million pieces of plastic make their way into our waterways (rivers and oceans) every day.

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated an already out-of-control problem, with a huge rise in demand for single-use plastic, online-shopping packaging materials and personal protection equipment (PPEs). A recently published study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) revealed that anything between 4.4 and 15.1 million tons of pandemic-associated plastic waste was generated​ from 93 countries by August 2021, with up to 25.9 thousand tons released in the global ocean.

Plastic do not belong in the nature, ocean or in us. Another study, for the first time, found 80% of people have plastic in their blood.​ The scientists analysed blood samples from 22 healthy adults and found PET plastic (beverage bottles), polystyrene (packaged food) and polyethene (carrier bags) in more in 17 of them. In addition, plastic was found in more than 386 fish species, 52% of all sea turtles and over a million seabirds.

So, it’s no wonder that consumers are increasingly concerned both about their own health and that of the planet and demanding that food producers step up. In fact, proprietary research by the Kerry Group revealed that 69% of European consumers consider sustainability issues, including packaging, when making a purchase.

Win:win

ReSea Project’s cleanup solution is community-driven, engaging locals to recover plastic waste from oceans and rivers. It said this is important is raising awareness to stop plastic pollution at its source. Its goal is to remove 10 million kilogrammes of plastic waste from the oceans and rivers by 2025.

However, it said this aim is highly dependent on the business community joining its movement.

“As our movement grows, so does our impact, allowing us to make waves beyond the sea we work in,”​ said Christine Tangdal, head of Sales & Partnerships for ReSea Project.

“Once in the ocean, plastic never disappears and possesses a large threat to nature, marine life and society.

“Our solution has shown to be a true win-win. Consumers prefer brands that do something positive for the environment and by partnering with ReSea Project our partners get a brilliant chance to show consumers that choosing their brand has a direct and documented impact for our planet.”

Real change can happen

ReSea Project is one of only two global organisations certified in plastic removal from oceans and rivers by assurance provider DNV, and uses blockchain technology to provide proof of the plastic’s journey from its source to ReSea Project’s sorting station.

From here the plastic waste is sorted into plastic types, bale pressed and distributed for recycling and waste handling purposes.

Tangdal added, “Our message is clear; we’re in this together. We welcome people from across the food and drink industry in the UK to join us – large and small. We all have a role to play in pushing the agenda for a plastic-free ocean. We firmly believe that only by working together can real change happen.”

The project has successfully collaborated with numerous global brands to assist them implement their sustainability strategy and importantly, promote these credentials to consumers.

According to ReSea Project, consumers support brands addressing environmental issues.

“Not only do we provide proof of impact with our certified cleanup process, we also support businesses joining our movement with value-adding marketing services to easily show customers the impact you're making,”​ it said.

It has already successful removed 1.4m kilogrammes of plastic from oceans and rivers in the past year, but now wants to ramp up its efforts and is calling on the UK F&B industry to upscale their own environmental credentials.

Studies:

Plastic waste release caused by COVID-19 and its fate in the global ocean

Authors: Yiming Peng, Peipei Wu, et al.

PNAs, November 8, 2021, 118 (47) e2111530118

doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2111530118

Discovery and quantification of plastic particle pollution in human blood,

Authors: Heather A. Leslie, Martin J.M. van Velzen, et al.

Environment International, Volume 163, 2022, 107199, ISSN 0160-4120,

doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2022.107199

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