Plastic 2018

Plastic had been one of the biggest topics of 2018. We called it out back in January as one of our top 5 themes of the year and talk surrounding the plastic problem really has gone the distance. So as we now approach the end of 2018, we thought we’d look back on the top trailblazing elements that have contributed to the plastic conversation this year and how those primary ideas will continue into 2019 and beyond...

Promotion Of The Problem

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Single-use has been chosen as the word of the year by Collin’s dictionary, and that’s no surprise with such a huge focus on single waste and plastic waste in the public domain this year. David Attenborough’s ‘Blue Planett’ raised mass awareness surrounding marine wildlife and the danger plastic poses at the start of the year, with multiple media outlets then contributing to the conversation throughout the year.

New media influencers on Instagram and Youtube have both been raising awareness of the issue, as well as coming under the spotlight as promotors of throw away culture and encouraging consumption. Going forward we predict influencer audiences to continually question the sustainable actions of their influencers and question the amount of product and packaging wasted through elaborate press packages. 

Brand Communication

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This year has seen a whole host of sustainable pop-up stores and events surrounding communicating ethical or sustainable elements of clothing, home and lifestyle ranges. Ecover arrived in Covent Garden with their ‘Not A Virgin’ plastic pop up, launching their new recycled and recyclable packaging with the aim of educating customers on the plastic they can and can’t recycle. 

Sky took a pop-up space in Soho to share their plastic free mission. Sky’s offices are pledging to go plastic free following the surge of environmental awareness in 2018 and are encouraging the general public to make their own plastic free pledge on their interactive pledge wall in store. Sky are also  selling plastic free alternatives designed by artists and celebrities such as Cara Delevingne and Kate Moss to raise money for wildlife and sustainable future charities.


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Consumers are becoming more savvy when it comes to greenwashing. This year has seen big brands start or expand upon their existing ‘Sustainable’ collections of clothes, with many facing backlash for Greenwashing. Lifestyle vlogger and influencer Niomi Smart faced criticism when she uploaded a Youtube video to her 1.6 million strong following promoting sustainable fashion shopping, weeks after she released a non -sustainable collection with High Street retailer, Oasis.

It’s not just the clothes themselves facing criticism, with many customers wanting to shop more consciously surprised by the amount of unnecessary and non -recyclable plastic packaging wrapping. Mango launched a sustainable fabric led initiative earlier this year, with garments arriving individually wrapped in plastic with a plastic hanger, leading many customers to post their disappointment on social media.

Legislation & Campaigning

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With consumers more aware than ever of their purchasing power, brands coming under fire for greenwashing and widespread promotion of the problem government and governing bodies are now taking an interest in various areas of the sustainability debate. 

UK MP’s have this month begun investigating ‘Fast Fashion’ retailers such as Primark, Arcadia and Marks & Spencer exploring their production and sale practices in terms of environmental impact and the UK isn’t alone, the EU is now looking into banning single use plastic by 2020, forcing brands and manufacturers to reconsider their environmental impact and the use of unsustainable, un-recyclable plastic packaging. 

It’s without a doubt a step in the right direction and we’re excited to see the development of more sustainable and economically viable fashion and packaging practices going forward.