Highlights so far: Great British Plastics Challenge

3 July 2018

This summer, we’ve teamed up with Business in the Community (BITC) and the Environment Agency to inspire young people to take action about plastic waste through a series of school talks and a national #PlasticsChallenge!

Over 30 leading figures from top organisations including Unilever, Sainsbury’s, Iceland, Keep Britain Tidy, WWF and more will be speaking in schools across the country about this issue, what their organisation is doing to tackle the problem as well as ways in which young people can get involved too to make a difference to plastics pollution.

Check out the highlights from the campaign so far…and be sure to see how you can take part below!

Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency

Kicking off the campaign on World Ocean’s Day was the chair of the Environment Agency, Emma Howard Boyd. Emma travelled to Bude in Cornwall to speak to students at Budehaven Community School about plastics pollution, the Environment Agency and actions we can take to protect the environment.





Roz Savage MBE, Ocean Rower, Author and Speaker 

Roz Savage gave an insightful and interesting perspective on plastic waste to students at The Bishop Wand Church of England School in Surrey. The first female to row solo across three oceans, Roz described the Great North Pacific Rubbish Dump, a huge gyre in the middle of the ocean which whips up plastic debris from across the world.

Roz also shared the steps she takes to try and reduce plastic pollution including using a metal bottle, metal straw and canvas bag.

What do you think Roz pledged to do for the #PlasticsChallenge? Find out below:


Judith Batchelar, Head of Brand at Sainsbury’s

Last week, we went along to Judith Batchelar’s talk at Blessed Hugh Faringdon School, Reading. As a signatory of the UK Plastics Pact, Sainsbury’s along with the 80+ other organisations are striving to ensure that 100% of its plastics packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable.




Following the talk, we heard from two students about what they’d pledged to do for the #PlasticsChallenge:


Sir James Bevan, CEO of the Environment Agency

We travelled to Worthing High School for Sir James Bevan’s #PlasticsChallenge talk. Talking to a packed audience of several hundred students from three different schools, Sir James left the students with this key message: If we all act together we can remove the scourge of plastic in the environment. Following his talk, the students took Sir James on a tour of the school, ending at their raised beds!


Mike Coupe, CEO of Sainsbury’s 

We also headed over to the Isle of Sheppey to the Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey. Mike discussed Sainsbury’s commitment to the UK plastics pact, their work with the Woodland Trust & how students can take part in the


Tanya Steele, CEO of WWF UK

Our most recent visit took us to Haringey for the CEO of WWF UKTanya Steele. On plastic, Tanya said:

‘Plastics is one of the most visible issues that we face today’

There were some excellent questions from the students too:

‘Will taxing work?’
‘What are alternative materials to plastic?’
‘Why don’t some people believe in climate change?’


Thank you Emma Howard Boyd, Roz SavageJudith Batchelar, Sir James Bevan, Mike Coupe and Tanya Steele for giving such fantastic talks, and thank you to the schools for hosting these speakers.

We would also like to say a big thanks to all the speakers who have spoken as part of the campaign so far including Robert Swannell CBE, Hugo Tagholm, Dr Zoe Laughlin, Niall Dunne and Tim Farron. Looking forward to hearing from our other campaign speakers when schools return after summer!

Take part in the #PlasticsChallenge

Don’t forget, you can take part in the #PlasticsChallenge too. Find out more information about the challenge here

The challenges:


You can also follow the #PlasticsChallenge and campaign on Twitter and Instagram!