Springwise Chair James Bidwell shares his thoughts on last week’s BBC broadcast “Drowning in Plastic” focusing on the damaging effects of plastic on the environment. With two Springwise Innovations featured on the programme, it’s reassuring to see many more innovators are stepping up to find a solution to the problem.
Innovation as a word has a positive feel about it. Thank goodness. Last week the BBC broadcast “Drowning in Plastic” a documentary which many see as a follow up to David Attenborough’s award winning and captivating Blue Planet 2 which awoke millions of us across the world to the extraordinary beauty of our oceans and its inhabitants, as well as to the increasing damage wrought by humanity on this precious ecosystem.
“Drowning in Plastic”, presented by Liz Bonnin, chronicles the devastation of many of our rivers and seas through mankind’s addiction to plastic, and our inability to dispose of it, in particular in emerging economies where there are often other more pressing matters. The account is harrowing, from baby flesh-footed shearwater birds in the Tasman Sea who cannot take off because their parents have fed them with plastic since brith, to beautiful turtles enmeshed in fishing nets, unable to escape.
There are over 1 million plastic bottles bought around the world every minute and a huge quantity are dumped in the world’s rivers and seas. I have to recommend to Springwise readers that you watch the programme, but prepare to be depressed. However, there seems to be some silver lining which we can celebrate. The documentary also searched for innovators who are inventing ways to deal with this massive problem and I was heartened to see two Springwise Innovations featured on the programme as part of the solution – the first Seabin published on Springwise in late 2017, shows how some enterprising Sydney surfers created a way to capture plastic waste in their local coastal waters – this has now become a global movement which includes an educational programme. The second, and potentially more scalable and revolutionary innovation, seen on Springwise in October 2017, was from the entrepreneurs at Evoware who have pioneered plastic packaging made from seaweed, harvested off the coast of Indonesia. Indonesia is the world’s second biggest polluter of plastics into the ocean.
Can you imagine the enormous volumes of plastic packaging consumed every day in the world? Imagine all of that can be composted, or even eaten, with nutritional value. Springwise has always been the go-to source for those of us who want to stay ahead and take inspiration from the most creative outliers and entrepreneurs. It is reassuring and a powerful motivator for us to see some of these ideas been given oxygen by the BBC and most importantly contributing to one of the most pressing problems which humanity faces today. Many of the solutions for this will be found amongst the innovators in the world, who we champion every day at Springwise. Please do share this with your friends.
Written by James Bidwell author of Disrupt! 100 lessons in business innovation (Nicholas Brealey Publishing Nov 2017)
9th October 2018