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Waste Not Want Not

Sponsored by evian

Single use plastic is one of the great threats of our time.

You can’t pick up a newspaper, log in to Instagram or scroll through Twitter without a daily reminder of how we’re failing to look after our precious planet.

But conflicting information, recycling policies that often vary from street to street, and the sheer scale of the problem makes it both tricky and intimidating to tackle. We all want to do our part but there needs to be more education about how to help. It’s also important to vote with our wallets when it comes to choosing brands who are working to combat waste on a bigger scale than you or I could ever dream of as individuals.

Years ago I switched my diet soda addiction for the crisp satisfaction of an iced water, fresh from the fridge. While I feel this is infinitely better for me, it’s pretty problematic when it comes to single-use-plastic. I’d need an industrial type filter to remove the chemicals I’d rather avoid in tap water, but the waste certainly weighed on my conscience. So imagine my relief to be invited to a sustainability panel from my water of choice, to hear about the changes they’re making to safe guard our blue planet.

After all, the legacy we leave for the next generation couldn’t possibly feel more poignant than it does right now.

evian transported a little slice of Paris to Mayfair for the day.

And took the opportunity to unveil their new bottles…

…but more on those later.

We took our seats and listened to a fascinating panel of experts from all sides of the sustainability debate.

Nik Engineer, global lead of The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which works with business, government and academia to develop and demonstrate a framework for an economy that is restorative and regenerative by design. Their aim is accelerate the transition to a circular economy.

Lizzie Carr, an environmental activist, author and Founder of Plastic Patrol, a non-profit to rid waterways of plastic pollution through a combination of community activities and disruptive technology. To date, Lizzie and her army of volunteers have removed more than 150 tonne bags of plastic from the UK waterways and a further 60,000 examples of plastic in 36 countries globally have been logged through crowdsourcing on the interactive Plastic Patrol map.

Patricia Olivia, Vice President of marketing for evian worldwide, who is spearheading evian’s campaign to become a 100% circular brand, inspired by Bank Ki-moon’s call to businesses to work towards the UN Sustainable Goals.

Daniel Solomita, founder of Loop Industries, who have created a revolutionary technology poised to disrupt the global plastics industry. This ground-breaking tech decouples plastic from fossil fuels by depolymerising waste PET plastic and Polyester fiber to its base building blocks. The monomers are then repolymerised to create virgin-quality PET plastic that is FDA approved for use in food-grade packaging. Essentially they have found a way to recycle the previously unrecyclable, even degraded PET plastic over and over again. Their mission is to accelerate the world’s shift toward sustainable plastic and away from our dependence on fossil fuels.

Over the following hours we listened intently as we learned how their team work is making the dream work! The key points being…

  • –  evian will be a 100% circular brand by 2025
  • –  All of evian’s bottles are already 100% recyclable
  • –  All evian’s bottles will be made from 100% recycled plastic by 2025
  • –  We were introduced to evian’s first 1.5ltr bottle made from 50% recycled plastic (and it’s as chic as you’d expect!)
  • –  We can all help tackle plastic waste by recycling. That way the plastic could be made into a bottle again and again, and not become waste.

So what does it mean to “become circular”?

The majority of brands we come into contact with, and our economy are based on the typical linear system… make product, use product, dispose of product.

A circular economy is quite simply the opposite… keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life. No waste, you buy, you use, you recycle, and it can be used again! The new technology evian are harnessing for their bottles allows them to do this time and time again.

The immediate benefit I see is that it will reduce the environmental impacts of both production and our consumption, but more than that, it will only strengthen the economy and put us in a stronger position to better address emerging resource scarcity issues in the future.

The importance of big companies making choices like this is that it makes it easier for all of us to make a difference, without compromise. I can still enjoy my favourite drink, pop a bottle in my handbag and rush off, knowing I won’t be creating unnecessary waste. I can drop the empty bottle into a recycling bin and who knows, maybe get it back some day!

After an extensive Q&A where we got to drill the panellists, we sat down for a sustainably sourced lunch of dreams.

I was placed next to Daniel from Loop, who I’m afraid I grilled with so many questions the poor chap barely got a bite in! Trust me when I say that he’s one to watch. I thoroughly recommend a visit to their website to see more of their work.

It’s incredibly exciting to see evian championing world-changing work like his, this is exactly the sort of thing we should expect from household company names we all know and love.

If you want to learn more about circularity and evian’s commitments, dive right in with a great little doc from VICE.

After all, the more we know the more we can do.

What goes around comes around.

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