Thanks to the support of Kiehl’s, Hubbub is delighted to announce the launch of our fourth boat made from 99% recycled plastic. The ‘Vitamin Sea’ will be taking people Plastic Fishing around London’s Docklands alongside ‘Poly-Mer’, which was the first boat of its kind in the world. Over 1,500 people have already been Plastic Fishing in Docklands collecting 1,800 plastic bottles from the waterway.

The growing fleet plays an important role in helping Hubbub communicate five key messages about the environmental challenges we face and the way we operate.

1) It makes the circular economy tangible

The plastic for the new boat was sourced from agricultural waste, bottles collected whilst Plastic Fishing and from Kiehl’s packaging collected in-store. These plastics were made into planks in Scotland before being returned to London where a traditional boat-builder made the punt. The whole process happens within the UK and has been captured in this video. It is a great example of the circular economy in action, turning an abstract concept into reality. 

2) It shows the potential value of plastics

The ‘War on Plastics’ is a blunt message and doesn’t allow for a more sophisticated debate about the wide range of plastics that exist.  Some of these plastics have no potential second-life whilst others such as PET bottles are recyclable and can be turned into a wide range of products within the UK. The boats bring this message to life demonstrating that some plastics can be turned into well-designed, durable and effective products. 

3) It shows the downside of plastics

The durability that makes plastic effective for packaging is a major problem if it escapes into the natural environment where it doesn’t breakdown significantly, and impacts fish and wildlife. Plastic Fishing starkly demonstrates this message. It is deeply depressing seeing coots building their nests with plastic, or swans surrounded by all forms of plastic litter. The trips enable people to see this first-hand and highlight the effect of littering. They also make it easy for people to clean the waterways and encourage a change of behaviour.

4) It is fun and engaging

Although people occasionally moan about getting a bit wet, most love the experience of being in a boat with friends, colleagues or classmates. They get a unique view of London’s Docklands, compete to see who can fish out the most unusual item or the most plastic, and have a chance to see first-hand the impact our throwaway society has on nature. Hubbub has long believed in the effectiveness of bringing people together in a fun, social setting where important messages can be communicated in a positive way. 

5) We can’t change the world on our own

Hubbub recognises that the role we can most effectively play is to experiment, explore new approaches and engage with businesses. We want to use these skills to help the UK’s environmental movement flourish. In our five years of existence we are delighted that we have been able to provide grant funding of over £2.5 million to community groups across the UK.  

The Plastic Fishing fleet will build on this principle. With support from Starbucks, our third boat ‘The Poly Roger’ has already toured Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester and the Scottish Canals. One of these cities will be donated the boat, and Hubbub will be announcing this soon. We will also be constructing three more boats, each of which will be given to local communities to help them tell the circular economy story and to clean up the UK’s waterways.  

Click here to find out more about how you can go Plastic Fishing.