World Environment Day 2018: meet the changemakers turning the tide on plastic pollution

World Environment Day 2018: meet the changemakers turning the tide on plastic pollution

Plastic pollution has been one of the hottest sustainability topics of the year so far. The issue first came to mainstream public attention in a big way at the end of 2017 when it was highlighted by Blue Planet II. Plus with China no longer accepting plastic waste from foreign countries, the problem has suddenly moved a lot closer to home.

There has been some good progress made to tackle the problem so far. The UK Government’s ban on microbeads came into effect and Scotland have committed to a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles.

Proposals for a “latte levy” to be charged on disposable coffee cups in the UK brought to attention the fact that these paper cups still contain plastic and are causing huge amounts of waste, but unfortunately these plans were abandoned by the UK Government.

Market Intelligence Agency Mintel produced a report on 2018 consumer trends which highlights how big brands are jumping on the issue: Adidas are making one million shoes from recycled ocean plastic and Procter & Gamble have committed to introducing 25% recycled plastic across 500 million bottles sold yearly across its haircare brands. Coca-Cola have also responded to pressure and raised their 2020 recycling target to 50%, and it’s likely that other perceived polluters will be forced to follow.

Supermarkets across the UK are phasing out single use plastic bags and more and more consumers are taking steps to tackle the plastic pollution issue through their everyday behaviour and shopping choices.

This year’s World Environment Day will take place on Tuesday 5th June 2018 with the theme of ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’.

World Environment Day is the UN’s most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. It’s widely celebrated in over 100 countries as the “people’s day” for doing something to take care of the Earth.

Plastic pollution can feel like an overwhelming issue to tackle – it’s everywhere! Fortunately large and small businesses around the world are coming up with innovative solutions to make conscious consumerism easier. Meet some of the Ethical Hour changemakers tackling plastic pollution head on:



Acala is an online store offering an extensive range of natural, organic and vegan health and beauty products from leading brands. All responsibly packaged; refills, plastic free and zero waste packaging.

Founder Hanna Pumfrey was inspired to start Acala after witnessing the amount of waste being generated in London by time-poor city dwellers with demanding jobs and personal lives.

It inspired her to become a conscious consumer and make sustainable living more accessible without big lifestyle changes:

At Acala we believe sustainable living is about creating equilibrium between human and environmental wellbeing. The beauty industry should be about wellness for both people and planet.

We chose to be plastic free because we have our hearts set on making a big shift in the way people consume their cosmetics and toiletries.

While 90% of Brits recycle kitchen waste, 50% of us don’t recycle bathroom waste such as shampoo, conditioner and shower gel bottles. This means 2.7 billion single-use plastic bottles toiletry bottles hit landfill every year.

Our goal is to empower consumers with the knowledge and easy access to sustainable alternatives to their cosmetics and toiletries. We want plastic free and zero waste packaging to become the norm in the beauty industry. All Acala products are packaged in refillable, biodegradable or 100% recyclable glass or aluminium pots.

Follow Acala to find out more:

Instagram: @acalaonline
Facebook: @acalaonline
Twitter: @acalaonline_


Atlas & Ortus

Atlas & Ortus is an ethical and sustainable lifestyle brand created specifically to help make it easier for consumers to cut down on their plastic use – and do good at the same time.

Founded in 2018 by sisters Evie Calder and Francesca Watson, Atlas & Ortus sell a range of ethical and eco-friendly products, with the aim of helping build a more sustainable, conscious and caring culture that puts the needs of future generations first – and where eco-friendly and ethically sourced products are the norm:

Almost every single piece of plastic ever created still exists in some form. Even now, around 90% of plastic still isn’t recycled, and ends up leaching chemicals in a landfill or harming marine life. At Atlas & Ortus, we’re passionate about helping raise awareness of the effects of this on the ocean and on humans – and educating consumers on how they can be doing more to help.

Our products help customers replace plastic items with more durable and sustainable alternatives, and our packaging is either recycled, recyclable or biodegradable. With the exception of our stickers (we’re working on this!), we’re totally plastic free. We chose to operate in this way because we want to be part of the movement helping catalyse change – and use our experience and knowledge to help other businesses operate more sustainably.

15% of the profits from Atlas & Ortus products sold on World Environment Day will go towards The Ocean Cleanup, a charity that develops advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic.

Follow Atlas & Ortus to find out more:

Instagram: @Atlasandortus
Facebook: @atlasandortus
Twitter: @atlasandortus



Every day thousands of tons of plastic waste from single-use products endanger the environment. The daily consumption of plastic straws alone is enough to wrap around the Earth’s circumference 4 times. Bambaw have redesigned a collection of everyday products, turning them into plastic-free alternatives to help people reduce their plastic waste:

At Bambaw, we want to empower everyone that are making the choice to consume differently. We believe that choosing reusable over disposable is the simplest solution to plastic pollution. That’s why we’ve produced a range of ecofriendly bamboo products, including bamboo toothbrushes, bamboo drinking straws, bamboo cutlery, and more sustainable alternatives.

We’re plastic free because we realise that humans are consuming way more plastic than we can recycle or process. All the plastic that has been created so far and wasn’t burned is still around, destroying the earth. Unfortunately, plastic is everywhere because it’s cheap and easy to manufacture.

We’re advocates of the #zerowaste movement and we believe that it’s important to become conscious consumers, to respect our planet and the life around us. A plastic-free world benefits all forms of life and supports our ecosystem. We’re really pleased that many other businesses and consumers are now going plastic free, and we’re grateful to Ethical Hour for encouraging more people to make the choice to break free from plastic consumption!

Shop for zero-waste bamboo products:




Earth Conscious

Earth Conscious produce award winning natural deodorants, made in the UK using only natural, organic ingredients that are kind to the body and pose no threat to marine life or the environment at large when washed away: 

Earth Conscious started as a plastic-free brand in 2014 and remains so today. We strive to do the best we can do to minimise the negative impact our natural deodorant products might have on the environment. This includes constant evaluation and consideration of ingredients and packaging used but also to how long our finished products will last.

10p from every deodorant sale goes to the Marine Conservation Society, a UK charity protecting our seas, shores & wildlife.

Follow Earth Conscious for more information:




LOWTOXBOX provide a selection of carefully curated ethical gift boxes for every occasion, including their bestselling Zero-Waste Starter Kit. Their LowTox Shop is designed to help you and your loved ones live an all-round cleaner, healthier and more sustainable lifestyle. LOWTOXBOX aim is to inspire, educate and empower people to live a greener, more eco conscious life:

At LOWTOXBOX we really do care for our planet just as much as we care for our customers, that’s why we have made sure everything about LOWTOXBOX is as kind to the environment as possible. As a result, each box of lovingly handpicked products is immersed in eco-friendly packing using non-toxic eco-friendly inks for printing. Not stopping there, we are proud to say that LOWTOXBOX plants a tree with every box purchased, more than offsetting our carbon footprint and contributing towards our LowToxTrees Mission – to plant 25,000 trees by 2028. Together we can make a BIG difference!

Along our journey we have become increasingly aware of the negative impact plastic is having on our planet. The sheer volume which is produced every year is unfathomable. Plastic pollution is urgently threatening our entire ecosystem. That’s why here at LOWTOXBOXwe have pledged to never use plastic in our range of Ethical Gift Boxes. Our aim is to inspire others to make a positive change and fight against plastic pollution.


Follow LOWTOXBOX for more information:



Mission Mango

Kerrin Nagel is lead strategist and founder of Mission Mango:

With Mission Mango I help socially conscious and ethically engaged entrepreneurs navigate through the complex world of today’s communication, get attention for the great work they do and reach the people they need to create a real movement with their business.

In my business I follow a minimalistic marketing approach. When I work with my clients we take their existing resources to set the strategic foundation before randomly running “single-use” and unsatisfying social media campaigns. I think it’s utterly important to be resourceful and avoid waste wherever possible – not only in business.

Plastic is everywhere already. In our oceans, our groundwater, on our beaches, and most sadly in our marine life and our own bodies. The awareness is rising but I still see so many people using disposables and creating unnecessary waste. It’s not that hard to change your habits. Luckily there are so many great ethical suppliers where you can shop your favourite planet savers. I’m currently looking for a new reusable lightweight water bottle as mine is 6 years old already and I’m not sure how that affects the characteristic of the material.

In my personal life I embrace the simple things. I travel slow and stay local, pack light and shop experiences rather than things, I give back and receive through housesitting, share and reduce my belongings, refuse plastic and waste whenever I can.

Follow Mission Mango for more:



Plastic-free Pantry

Plastic-free Pantry aims to make it easier to shop for plastic-free food. Inspired by a trip to the beach where she noticed a huge amount of litter and plastic waste, founder Kim pledged to quit using plastic herself but was frustrated by the lack of options available in supermarkets, so Plastic-free Pantry was born:

Plastic-free Pantry was borne out of frustration at the lack of plastic-free options in the supermarket when founder Kim started to notice just how much plastic pollution there is and wanted to reduce her own plastic use. We buy wholefoods and pantry staples such as rice, pasta, lentils, dried fruit and nuts in bulk and package it up in paper or home compostable packaging to help others buy high quality food without plastic.

Follow Plastic-free Pantry for more:
Website –
Twitter: @plastfreepantry



&Keep are based in Dorset by the sea, where they are devoted to providing mindfully selected, eco friendly, reusable and sustainable products to help people make informed ethical purchases to protect the planet:

I started &Keep with the desire to show people there are eco-friendly, sustainable and reusable alternatives to plastic for every day items. I offer a one-stop shop for these alternatives, as well as a plethora of information and advice through blogs, emails and social media. I want to stop the waves of plastic pollution and the devastation it causes before it is too late for my children to experience the fantastic natural wonders and wildlife this planet has, in their natural habitat.

Shop the collection and find out more:



Ethical Hour and Status Row

Ethical Hour are also proud to be media partners with Status Row – three women rowing across the Atlantic to challenge the everyday use of plastic.

Jess, Caroline and Susan have no prior rowing experience, but powered by the belief that ordinary people can do extraordinary things, they plan to become the 2nd female trio ever to attempt to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic!

30 crews from around the world will come together to take on the challenge in December 2018, departing from San Sebastian in La Gormera, Canary Islands. They will row around the clock for over 50 days to reach Nelson’s Dockyard English Harbour, Antigua & Barbuda.

Status Row are on a mission to inspire people to push beyond their limitations. Central to their challenge is using this row to make a difference. They have chosen to support The Marine Conservation Society and spread the message about plastic pollution along the way too.

Find out more about Status Row and how you can help support them here.


Are you ready to take a PlasticFreePledge?

There’s lots of small steps you can take to move towards plastic free. All of our sponsors have shared their tips to help you make the first steps, and they all provide products or services to help you on your way.

This World Environment Day, why not take one small step to reduce single use plastic?

Take our PlasticFreePledge by downloading our Instagram Stories template below! Don’t forget to tag @EthicalHour!

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