The Blue Planet Effect: One Year On

This week marks one year since 13 million viewers were shocked by the haunting image of a mother whale still protecting her calf that had died from plastic poisoning.  The source of this footage will be well known to many, as Blue Planet II has had a far-reaching impact long beyond its release date.  In fact, the public push to reduce our use and waste of plastics has been dubbed the ‘Blue Planet effect’.

The awareness that Blue Planet II instilled in the public can be seen clearly from the popularity of the search term ‘Ocean plastic’ on Google.  The peak in popularity of this term coincided with the weeks when the two most plastic-focused episodes (4 and 7) of Blue Planet II were released.  For many this was the moment when we fully realised the consequences of our disposal habits, and the environmental issues that have ensued as a result.

In the wake of this realisation, public mobilisation was astonishing, and such activity around a waste issue has arguably never been seen on this scale before.  In December 2017, 193 nations signed a UN pledge to tackle the ‘global crisis’ of ocean plastic.  In February 2018, the BBC announced a ban on single-use plastics by 2020, and the word plastic became commonplace at government meetings around the world.  In the UK specifically, over 100 organisations have signed up to the WRAP UK Plastics Pact, which recently released its roadmap to 2025.  This has set out goals for reduction, reuse and recycling of plastic packaging waste (a key source of plastic pollution).  These pledges were all driven in no small part by public pressure, which goes to show the power of a united society.

In 2018, ‘single-use’ has been dubbed word of the year, the EU has pushed through a ban on single-use plastics, and circular economy mobilisation is at the forefront of many topics, not just plastics.  With this environmentally-aligned thinking in the ascendant, now is an opportune time for action. At Oakdene Hollins we are experts in circular economy, problematic waste streams and the reduction of carbon emissions.  We are keen to work with forward-thinking businesses at this crucial time, and our team has the market experience and technical ability to deliver on a wide range of topics.  If your organisation would like support in becoming more circular, contact us on 01296 423915, or email Owain Griffiths at

Jake Harding