Punts made from 99% recycled plastic, educating people about the impact of litter in our rivers and oceans

Each year 300 tonnes of rubbish is cleared from the Thames and a large amount of it is food and drink packaging, that comes from dry land. Lots of this litter is being eaten by birds, fish and other species. At current rates there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.

To raise awareness of the impact plastic in our rivers and oceans, we teamed up with Canary Wharf College, Tideway London and Mark Edwards MBE, to create the world's first punt made from 99% recycled plastic, called 'Poly-Mer' and run educational trips to fish plastic out of London’s Docklands.

Plastic Fishing for businesses  Plastic Fishing for schools 

The story of Plastic Fishing

Plastic Fishing was inspired by a project in Amsterdam called Plastic Whale, which combines sightseeing with cleaning the city’s canals. Christine Armstrong, an author and circular economy champion, saw the potential to adapt the idea for the waterways near her East London home and linked up with Paul Bew, a fellow parent and Yachtmaster, the Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre and local school, Canary Wharf College to set up a pilot. The pilot proved they could clean up the docks, collect valuable plastics and inspire the next generation to take care of the environment too.

Keen to take the idea further, the school was delighted when Hubbub heard about the project and offered to help take it to scale. We collaborated to turn their dream of building a punt dedicated to cleaning the docks into a reality.

The world's first 99% recycled plastic punts, 'Poly-Mer', 'PET Project' and 'Vitamin Sea' were built by Mark Edwards MBE, a Richmond-based boat builder who previously built the Queen’s barge, ‘Gloriana’, from plans drawn by Paul Bew. The traditional design is over a thousand years old but the material is one of the most modern imaginable:100% recycled plastic waste known as Plaswood. This is the first time it has been used for boat building and each punt contains 8,000 PET plastic bottles. Each time the punts go Plastic Fishing they collect more bottles from the Docklands which are recycled to make more punts.

Watch the journey from plastic bottle to boat:

The difference made

To date, over 1,600 people have been Plastic Fishing, collecting over 1,901 plastic bottles from London's Docklands and 200 kg of recyclable plastic. After plastic fishing, 90% of participants pledged not to buy a plastic bottle for a month

With support from City Bridge Trust we've also been able to offer free Plastic Fishing trips for primary schools within the London Boroughs. As part of this we've created an education kit which is freely available for schools across the UK to download and use.

Support from the Starbucks 5p coffee cup charge has enabled us to recycle even more plastic bottles into second Plastic Fishing punt, called PET Project. PET Project was launched in September 2018 and is currently based in Richmond, London.

We also run trips for businesses and Hubbub shares surplus from these trips with Canary Wharf College, having so far donated almost £10,000 towards their outward bound activities.

Get involved

Plastic Fishing for primary schools

'Plastic Fishing education kit', brings Plastic Fishing to life in classrooms across the UK, where the punts can't reach. Designed for primary school children in KS2 years (aged 9-11), the kit contains a teaching guide with lesson plans, a video and activity sheets which are freely available for teachers to download and use.

If you're a primary school based within a London Borough, we may be able to offer you a free Plastic Fishing trip for students aged 8-11 years. Get in touch to find out more.

Plastic Fishing for businesses

Plastic Fishing is a unique team-building and corporate volunteering opportunity that brings plastics and marine pollution issues to life, right in the heart of London. Find out more and book here.

With thanks to the City Bridge Trust, Tideway London and Starbucks.