Team GB's Hannah Mills encourages athletes to take plastic pledge

23 Jul 2021

By: Sport Industry Group

An Environment Agency flyer made of plantable seed paper has been included in the athletes’ official Tokyo Olympic 2020 kit bags as part of a campaign to tackle plastic pollution.

Team GB athletes are invited to help ‘kick plastics out of sport; by making a pledge to tackle the issue, as part of the Big Plastic Pledge, a global campaign founded by Olympic sailing champion Hannah Mills with the aim of uniting athletes and fans from around the world to help tackle the issue of plastic pollution and eradicate single-use plastic in sport. 

The Olympian has also partnered with Team GB partner GoDaddy to raise awareness of the issue among fellow competitors and also micro-businesses across the UK.

The flyer features three key messages for athletes - make one simple change, like using a bamboo toothbrush instead of plastic varieties, shout about their preventing plastic pollution support, and use their position as worldwide role models to influence others. 

It has been produced by the Environment Agency’s plastics and sustainability team on behalf of the Interreg Preventing Plastic Pollution (PPP) project, a cross-Channel partnership of 18 expert organisations which identifies and target hotspots for plastic, embeds behaviour change in local communities and businesses, and implements effective solutions and alternatives.

The flyer is the first of a number of initiatives with Team GB having also provided learning and teaching resources for its family and school education programme Travel to Tokyo – a free programme of virtual activities for children aged 5 to 11.

“We are thrilled to be working with representatives for Team GB and the Big Plastic Pledge,” said Hannah Amor, Project Officer, Environment Agency.

“The flyer is an incredible opportunity to encourage athletes to help prevent plastic pollution and become worldwide ambassadors for behaviour change.

“Everyone has a part to play in minimising the amount of avoidable plastic they use. It is estimated that 12 million tonnes of plastic enters the environment each year – that is a bin lorry load every minute. If everyone kicks plastic out of sport and is kinder to our planet, we could see this staggering figure reduce, helping to protect our wellbeing and wildlife for generations to come.”

Ben Law, Head of UK & Ireland, GoDaddy, said: “Micro-businesses make up 96% of the companies in the UK2, so they have the potential to come together and create substantial positive change for the planet. Consumers have become more environmentally-conscious in the last few years and they increasingly value entrepreneurs who can embed sustainable practices at the heart of their businesses.

“However, we know it’s not always easy to achieve. As a company that empowers everyday entrepreneurs and provides the tools and help to succeed online, we are pleased to be working with Hannah to help her spread the word encouraging increased sustainability.”