The shocking amount of plastics in our oceans shows new solutions are needed to cut waste. Hubbub has just launched Poly-Mer, a boat made from 99% recycled plastics that will fish plastics from London’s waterways. This is the start of our ambition to create a more circular economy. Here is our five step plan.

1) Creating new collaborations

Hubbub has a track-record of bringing organisation together to create impact. Our award-winning Square Mile Challenge has already recycled over 3 million coffee cups from the heart of London. Whilst the building of Poly-Mer brought together manufacturers, recycling companies, traditional boat builders and local schools.

These unusual collaborations are essential if we are to create a circular economy and Hubbub has demonstrated an ability to create unique partnerships resulting in impactful campaigns.

2) A space to learn

Moving to a circular economy is complex. Will the approach work? Are consumers ready? Will it be profitable? Hubbub allows organisations to answer these questions by running practical campaigns that are measured and evaluated.

Running campaigns often throws up unexpected challenges. The first coffee cup recycling bins proved too easy to break into and too tempting for children to play with. Based on this experience we were able to refine the design for the large-scale campaign in London. Building a boat from recycled plastic posed new technical challenges for the boat builder which he was able to overcome through trial and error.

 

An early sketch of Poly-mer

3) A focus on design

Too many environmental innovations have not captured the public’s imagination because insufficient attention was paid to the quality of design. Hubbub has sought to create thoughtfully designed solutions.

The recycling bins we created for Square Mile Challenge were highly visual, striking and functional. Poly-Mer was built by an award-winning boat builder who made the Queen’s Royal Barge ‘Gloriana’. The final result is an elegant and highly practical boat.

4) Supporting the UK economy

Hubbub is seeking to build circularity within the UK economy. This will become ever more important as foreign markets such as China increasingly restrict the materials they will accept from abroad.

The Square Mile Challenge and the building of Poly-Mer were developed using skills and resources within the UK, linking creative designers with local manufacturers. In a post-Brexit Britain, this focus will boost the economy and be environmentally beneficial.

5) Creating debate and conversations

Hubbub seeks to maximise the impact of our campaigns by using press and social media to start new conversations and debate. The Square Mile Challenge highlighted the challenges of recycling coffee cups and presented a practical solution. The launch of the Poly-Mer sought to highlight the value of plastic bottles and reinforced the need to not drop litter that could end up in our waterways.

Increasingly this approach is engaging with politicians and decision makers. The Square Mile Challenge led to us giving verbal evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee, it was referenced in the Mayor of London’s strategy and has led to a potential campaign being launched in Cologne. Poly-Mer was launched by DEFRA Minister Therese Coffey MP and links to growing policy interest in the circular economy.

We believe that taking this practical approach at a local level will help organisations better understand how they can most effectively make the transition to a circular economy, they will provide evidence to inform better policy making and they will inspire people to change behaviour.

 

To hear more about how Hubbub is engaging people with the circular economy watch this video from the launch of Poly-mer: