In November we held an event at ZSL London Zoo to celebrate all that #OneLess has achieved since it began in 2016 and to launch our Roadmap for London to continue tackling plastic pollution at source in the city.
Over 60 members of the #OneLess community came together inside ZSL’s ‘Tiny Giants’ exhibit; the very same room where we launched the #OneLess pioneer network in 2018. Since then, the network has grown to over 90 organisations across London – including venues, businesses, retailers and universities to name a few.
Fiona Llewellyn, #OneLess Senior Project Manager, opened the evening with a look back at how far we’ve come, sharing a film commissioned by #OneLess funder, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation:
Fiona also gave thanks on behalf of the #OneLess team to our funders who have been incredibly supportive, understanding and flexible throughout the whole life of the project; Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Oak Foundation, Selfridges and National Geographic.
Huge thanks were also offered to the Greater London Authority and the Mayor of London for important policy changes and commitments made to reduce single-use plastic water bottles across the capital, including the installation of the pioneering Fountain Fund Network which has dispensed over 900,000 refills to date.
Congratulations were also in order for Thames21, our Thames Bottles Monitoring Partners, and all the amazing citizen scientists and volunteers who have helped #OneLess to document and remove over 130,000 plastic bottles from the Thames since 2016. Not only have they been cleaning up London’s iconic river but they’ve also been providing valuable data to improve our understanding of the problem and build an important evidence base to drive policy change.
Fiona Llewellyn handed over with heartfelt thanks to our pioneer network – the organisations that have made the important changes which really set this movement in motion. We were delighted to welcome so many of our pioneers to celebrate with us and missed those who were unable to be there in person.
We also heard from #OneLess Co-Director Heather Koldewey, who shared a very poignant question from right at the beginning of the project –
How do you change a city as diverse, complex and wonderful as London? How can we shift a system away from plastic towards refill – is this idea too big, too crazy?
But Heather found the answer to be in the room in front of her: the incredible variety of people, organisations, backgrounds, skillsets, and passion for driving positive change within London.
Guest speakers who took to the stage were Andrew Dunwoody, Policy and Programmes Manager for Waste & Circular Economy at the Greater London Authority (GLA), and Zack Polanski, recently elected Green Party London Assembly Member and Chair of London’s Environment Committee.
Andrew Dunwoody shared the Mayor’s plans to expand the drinking fountain network in London and implement an action plan across all Functional Bodies to cut unnecessary use of single-use plastic and disposables within their estate. He also explained that the GLA are working with ReLondon and London Councils to coordinate efforts across London to implement recommendations from a report on ‘Reducing single-use plastic consumption’.
Zack Polanski gave a inspiring speech, congratulating the #OneLess community on its progress to date and leaving us feeling energised to continue fighting single-use plastic waste in the city. “It’s been wonderful to support the #OneLess campaign. Too often the focus can be on individuals and not what government can do to create systemic change. I’m really pleased by the work #OneLess has been doing over the past decade to be at the forefront of tackling plastic at a business level too.”
Before encouraging the networking and festivities to continue, Heather Koldewey closed the presentations with the most important question of the night: what next?
London has made significant impact in turning the tide on single-use plastic, but there is much more work to be done. Our latest research has revealed achievable and exciting opportunities for positive change that will enable London to continue along the road to becoming a more ocean-friendly city. Whether you’re a policy maker, a business or community group, our Roadmap for London illustrates how you can play your part in continuing the #OneLess movement and tackling plastic pollution at source:
The resounding message from the #OneLess team was to ask everyone to help mobilise the Roadmap for London by sharing it with friends, colleagues and wider networks who may have power or influence to drive action in the areas identified.
Thanks again to all who joined us in celebrating #OneLess. Click through below to view the photographs from the evening.