War on Plastic

Every minute of every day the equivalent of a garbage truck full of plastic is emptied into the world’s oceans. Thanks to other series like Blue Planet and Drowning in Plastic, we’ve all seen the devastating effect this is having on our world’s wildlife. 

In this new three-part series, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Anita Rani explore where this gigantic problem is coming from, and what we can all do to try and solve it.

They will be challenging big businesses to do more to reduce the plastic in their products, questioning the government about what they are doing to address recycling and plastic production.

Plus challenging an entire street in Bristol to try and significantly reduce the amount of single-use plastic in their homes in four months to discover how easy or difficult it is to make these kind of changes. 


In the first programme Anita quickly identifies that over a third of all the plastic packaging in the country comes from our ten leading supermarket chains. However, people are shocked to discover that both Sainsbury’s and Tesco seem to charge less for fruit and veg wrapped in plastic than buying it lose.

Meanwhile Hugh tackles the most common litter on our beaches – the single-use plastic water bottle. He launches a new brand of Tapineau (or bottled tap water) to an unsuspecting public to show that no one can tell the difference in taste.

Forty-seven percent of people admit to arguing about what is and isn’t recyclable at home. Hugh sets up a street side recycling game and it quickly becomes clear that no one really knows which bin to use, and with different councils having different rules across the country,


He also tracks down what happens to our plastic recycling since China stopped accepting rubbish from around the world and discovers that Malaysia has become one of the biggest importers of British waste plastics. He reveals that much of this unsorted plastic has been left to rot on illegal dumpsites.

Local residents also tell of illegal fires being lit to help get rid of all the plastic, which emit clouds of noxious black smoke that  they believe ares causing health problems for their young children.

Click here to watch this programme on iplayer.


Thames Estuary Partnership is a partner in the #OneLess movement which aims to make London free of single-use plastic water bottles by 2021. Click here to find out more about the #OneLess movement and how you and your business, organisation or community can get involved.


External Sources

BCC iPlayer: War on Plastic

#One Less website