Hubbub launches fourth waste-cleaning boat made from recycled plastics

The fourth boat made its maiden voyage on Monday (15 July)

The boat, called ‘Vitamin Sea’, is made from ‘plaswood’ – a material which consists of 99% recycled plastic waste sourced from agricultural businesses.  

It will be used to facilitate Hubbub’s ‘plastic fishing’ trips to remove litter from the Docks in London – an initiative which is open to schools, community groups, non-profits, public organisations and private-sector businesses alike, with the aim of communicating plastics challenges to the British public.

Hubbub first launched its ‘plastic fishing’ trips offering in 2017, following the completion of its first plaswood punt, called ‘Poly-Mer’. Since then, the charity has launched a second boat, PET Project, as part of a partnership with Starbucks, and a third boat, in collaboration with media giant Mirror Group.

The launch of the third boat marked the expansion of the scheme outside of London for the first time, as it enabled the facilitation of a UK-wide tour that was free for community groups, schools, businesses and local authorities across Birmingham, Bristol, Machester and the Scottish canal network to access.

More than 1,500 people have been on one of the plastic fishing trips to date, with the scheme having removed more than 1,800 plastic bottles from waterways across the UK.  

For Hubbub’s founder and chief executive Trewin Restorick, the plastic fishing concept’s success lies in its ability to communicate five key messages about plastic waste. These are namely: that the circular economy can be tangible; that plastics do have a value; that plastics do have environmental downsides; that tackling plastic pollution can be fun; and that action on the challenge must be collaborative.

“[Plastic fishing] It is a great example of the circular economy in action, turning an abstract concept into reality,” Restorick wrote in a blog post. “Hubbub has long believed in the effectiveness of bringing people together in a fun, social setting where important messages can be communicated in a positive way. 

“[The project also] recognises that the role we can most effectively play is to experiment, explore new approaches and engage with businesses. We want to use these skills to help the UK’s environmental movement flourish.”

Take it back

Restorick went on to emphasise that Kiehl’s’ involvement with the plan coincides with the UK launch of its in-store take-back scheme for packaging.

Under the scheme, customers earn loyalty stamps every time they bring a reusable bag or return an empty Kiehl’s brand product to one of its UK stores. Once they have collected 10 stamps, they are entitled to a free travel-sized product up to the value of £9.50.

The scheme has already proven to be a success in the US, where it has enabled the recycling of more than 1.3 million containers since its 2017 launch.

The UK launch for Kiehl’s comes shortly after The Body Shop launched a similar in-store take-back scheme with loyalty incentives, in partnership with TerraCycle.

Sarah George

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