City to Sea’s Creative Director Michelle Cassar was the first to speak to the CEO of TGI Friday’s about their plastic straw usage. That conversation helped prompt their actions to remove plastic straws at Friday’s UK.
With over 80 restaurants, serving literally thousands of people on a daily basis, this is a huge victory for preventing plastic pollution – at source!
So, why was Michelle working in TGI Friday’s, a huge high street chain? When we were starting out at City to Sea it was all hands on deck, but we didn’t have much in the way of budget coming in. So after 15 years Michelle, our in-house photographer video-maker went back to waiting tables. Which was a shock to the system, she remembered it being easy?!
From the first meeting TGIs knew Michelle was preventing plastic pollution, they welcomed her to the team and gave her all the flexibility she needed to work on City to Sea. It also gave her the opportunity to encourage change, on a massive scale. So when Karen Forrester, the CEO was paying a store visit Michelle made sure she was there to chat with her. She then followed up that conversation with her manager, area manager and the right people at HQ.
There’s always more large restaurants can do, but this is a fantastic start and may prompt other large chains to follow, and TGI Friday’s across the globe … How can they not?!
It’s a good example of how conversations, with the right people really can inspire massive change. Aim high, and watch as plastic pollution prevention ripples out …
Our ‘Switch the Stick’ petition success with 38 Degrees has got others thinking …
Rob Greenfield, is an American adventurer, environmental activist, humanitarian, and dude making a difference. He is dedicated to leading the way to a more sustainable and just world.
When he recently meet Michelle, our Creative Director she told him of ‘Switch the Stick’ and the success it had, (In case you don’t know) with all the major UK retailers pledging to switch their cotton bud sticks from plastic to paper by the end of 2017.
Straight away he wanted to make a film about it to spread the word. So him and Michelle did just that, with nearly a million views on Facebook the word really is getting out.
Check it out, and then share it to share the good news! 🙂
Our latest film ‘Plastic-Free Periods?’ Is flying over on facebook with 1.4 MILLION views in a week! With no signs of slowing down, we’re over the moon to be getting the word out about plastic in menstrual products, whilst also letting people know not to flush them.
Did you know ….
THE AVERAGE DISPOSABLE MENSTRUAL PAD CONTAINS AS MUCH PLASTIC AS FOUR CARRIER BAGS
EVERY DAY THE UK FLUSHES 1.4 MILLION PADS AND 2.5 MILLION TAMPONS
Our aim is to raise awareness of correct disposal methods, while educating viewers on the amount of ‘hidden’ plastic in disposable menstrual products. We give recommendations for to try reusable menstrual products like menstrual cups or cloth pads instead – products we’re personally big fans of – or swapping to plastic-free organic disposables.
We ‘bin’ the word ‘sanitary’.
We also took the decision to become the first campaign group to not to use the word ‘sanitary’ in the film to promote a language shift that is starting to emerge when talking about periods.
#PeriodPositive founder and menstruation education researcher, Chella Quint says, “The word ‘sanitary’ has been used by major multinational corporations for decades – some of the first ads for pads and tampons used this euphemism to promote their products and ‘save’ us from being ‘unsanitary’. It’s an echo of attitudes that are already starting to change in a big way. Continuing to refer to menstrual products ‘sanitary products’ subtly carries on old taboos around periods being shameful or making you ‘unclean’. Role-modelling this language shift is a great choice by City to Sea. It marks a new focus on openness and sustainability, and the industry needs to take notice.”
We’ve chosen to direct the message at everyone with decision-making power around menstrual waste, including women, trans men and nonbinary people who get periods, plus parents and carers of disabled menstruators.
None other than ‘The One Show’ (BBC1 prime time if you’ve not heard of it!) got in touch recently to feature ‘Switch the Stick’, our successful cotton bud campaign on their beach special live from Cornwall.
What an opportunity, to be able to talk to their millions of viewers. Of course we jumped at the chance!
Which will prevent 230 tons of plastic being produced – annually!
At the recent Harbourside festival whereLitterArti had created a piece of huge visual art we overheard a women telling her son about how cotton buds are flushed down the toilet and go to the ocean. “How you know that?” asked her husband, “I saw it on the telly!” came the reply. Amazing, ‘The One Show’ has got the word out of the cotton buds, and City to Sea to an even wider audience. Just as we hoped it would.
The end of 2017 is starting to get closer …. we already have samples from Sainsburys which will soon be hitting their shelves.If you were one of the 157,000 people …
Released in time for World Oceans Day, it’s gone on to have 230,000 views on Facebook in under a week! Check it our here on our YouTube channel, and #dontbelievethewipe …
‘Don’t Believe the Wipe’ is part of a year-long campaign being run by City to Sea to reduce the number of wipes and sanitary items being flushed. The last 10 years have seen a 400% increase in wipes found on beaches and last month over 4,500 wipes were found on one small patch of Thames riverbank. Many wipes contain plastic and really shouldn’t be flushed – despite what the packet says!
So #DontBelievetheWipe and share our latest film to spread the word for World Oceans Day! Even though it’s no longer World Oceans Day, every second breathe we take comes from the oceans, so it’s Worlds Oceans Day every day …
It’s a great honour to have them as our first 1% for the Planet partner, especially seeing as the movement was co-created by Patagonia’s visionary founder, Yvon Chouinard. We’re very happy to have them on board.
More about 1% for the Planet 1% for the Planet is a global organization, leading a network of businesses, nonprofits, and individuals working together for a healthy planet. Launched in 2002 by Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, and Craig Mathews, former owner of Blue Ribbon Flies, their network consists of more than 1,100 member companies and thousands of approved nonprofit partners like City to Sea in more than 40 countries. Brands whose products and services feature the 1% for the Planet logo give 1% of sales annually to nonprofit organisations dedicated to protecting the environment. Their members have given more than $145 million back to the planet since 2002.
An evening of inspiration and celebration took place yesterday evening when the SMK 2017 Campaigner Awards celebrated this years’ leading campaigners and change-makers.
One of the winners is Bristol-based Natalie Fee, who has won the Environmental Justice Award for her ‘Switch the Stick’ campaign after being shocked at the amount of plastic cotton buds she was finding during beach cleans along the River Avon in Bristol and on beaches in Cornwall.
Natalie, who founded the campaign group City to Sea, secured funding from three water companies and soon after, secured 6000 signatures and 80,000 views of her campaign film. After being approached by 38 Degrees ‘Campaigns by You’, over 155,000 people signed the petition and over 100,000 viewed her second campaign film. By December 2016 all UK supermarkets had agreed to ‘Switch the Stick’ to paper, a move which will prevent at least 89 tonnes of single-use, potentially ‘flushable’ plastic being produced each year.
Speaking of her win, Natalie said: “Receiving the SMK Environmental Justice Award for my work with City to Sea is a huge win for the oceans and a great honour for us as an organisation. This kind of recognition will go a long way to help us and many other non-profits campaigning to stop marine plastic pollution in achieving our goals. Sheila McKechnie was a phenomenal force for change and it’s a great privilege to be championed by those continuing her legacy.”
SMK’s Chief Executive Sue Tibballs said: ‘The SMK Campaigner Awards provide us with a unique opportunity to support some of the inspiring, innovative and often courageous people who are speaking out to effect change.’
‘All of our winners this year are a credit to the causes they serve and our organisation is ready to provide them with mentoring and support in sustaining and taking forward their successful campaign work.’
All major UK retailers have agreed to phase out plastic cotton buds by the end of 2017 following concern over the number that are ending up on our beaches.
City to Sea, alongside Scottish charity Fidra, have been calling for retailers to phase out plastic-stemmed cotton and switch to paper to cut down the amount of plastic ending up on our beaches and in our rivers. City to Sea’s ‘Switch the Stick’ campaign has also been supported by over 155,000 members of 38 Degrees. To the delight of all, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Aldi, Morrisons, Lidl, BootsUK, Superdrug and Wilko have communicated their commitment to ensure their own label cotton bud products will be made with paper stems by the end of 2017.
A Tesco’s spokesperson commented: “We’re committed to ensuring all of our own label cotton bud products will be made with paper stems, and will do this by the end of 2017.”
Similarly, a Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We have been working hard to improve this product. Our new cotton buds, with 100% biodegradable stems, will be available before the end of 2017.”
An Asda spokesperson said: “This is an area where we’re working hard to make a difference and we’re pleased to confirm that all our own brand cotton buds products will be made with paper stems by 2017.”
And an Aldi spokesperson said: “As a responsible retailer, we are committed to removing plastic from our cotton buds by the end of 2017.”
Natalie Fee, City to Sea founder: “We’re delighted with the commitment from so many major supermarkets to ‘Switch the Stick’ from plastic to paper stem buds. Whilst they still shouldn’t be flushed, this move will stop millions of plastic stems ending up in the marine environment each year and is a huge win in the fight against marine plastic pollution.”
Dr Clare Cavers, Research Officer from Fidra’s Cotton Bud Project: “Johnson & Johnson and Waitrose pledged to change to paper cotton buds in Spring this year, and we are very pleased to see other retailers following their lead. Plastic pollution in our seas is a major problem, so by making this positive change, we are a step closer to cleaner oceans.”
Plastic cotton bud stems are the number one item of plastic, sewage-related debris on our beaches and rivers  – yet UK retailers can help prevent this by switching the stick from plastic to paper – and over 155,000 people have shown their support to the cause by signing up to City to Sea’s campaign on the 38 Degrees website.
In the marine environment, plastics can be eaten by marine life, often with fatal consequences. Plastic is found in the stomachs of Loggerhead Turtles, seabirds and many species of UK-caught fish. And pieces that don’t get eaten break down into micro-plastics, forming part of a dangerous plastic smog in our seas.
The 38 Degrees petition has received over 155,000 signatures in support of the City to Sea campaign.
Trish Murray, campaigner at 38 Degrees, added: “The public’s overwhelming support for this campaign shows that there is a real desire for retailers to provide environmentally sound alternatives.’
It’s great news that six supermarkets in the UK have made a commitment this week following Natalie’s campaign and the support of thousands of 38 Degrees members. The huge petition has sent a clear message to all shops – customers expect them to switch to paper cotton buds to protect our wildlife and our seas.”
 Beachwatch Report 2015, Marine Conservation Society
After months of planning and the generous support of Natracare, it was great to finally set up at the Festival of Nature, meet the lovely attendees and engage them with the problems and practical solutions of marine plastic pollution.
We at City to Sea were delighted to be one of the organisations selected for the Bristol Spark Something Good week. Eight Marks & Spencer stores from Weston to Yate took part in Spark Something Good, which saw 300 volunteers give up over 2,000 hours for free, in order to make a positive difference.
Director of Plan A at Marks & Spencer, Mike Barry commented: “There’s a tremendous sense of camaraderie when people come together to give something back to their local community and that’s exactly what Spark Something Good is all about. I’m thrilled that Bristol has embraced our initiative in this way and got stuck in, and I’m proud to have played a small part.”Continue reading “Spark Something Good”→