Post Plastics – Solutions Solved

The next step along the road – what are the solutions to our problems, and how do we refine them! We started with a game of ‘Chinese whispers’, with a secret problem passed from one person to the next, who in turn had to pass on a secret solution to the next who then had to propose what the problem was… An interesting game, opening our eyes to the fact that there are many solutions to a problem – but that dialogue and cooperation are key to the best solutions, as in our case:  Problem – ‘too much dog fouling in the park’ Solution – ‘humans should walk less’ wasn’t the most useful!

Back in our teams we then defined the problem of our group and set out what the vision of our project was, an important clarification to verify our solutions going forward. Next – solutions, solutions and … solutions, thick and fast. The more creative the better.

Organising our solutions was next, here we worked our way up from the most unworkable/unrealistic at the bottom – to the easiest, but uninspired – to the best and most workable solutions at the top. We then shared our solutions with the other groups, while also walking to other tables and viewing what solutions the other groups had to offer. It was enlightening to see the different ideas and styles, but one thing was clear – everyone was sold by the idea of an App to market or raise awareness of their ideas… an interesting idea. Another idea that resonated with us was the concept that one has to ‘offer the carrot’ (i.e. offer subsidies for using alternatives to plastic) before swooping in with ‘the stick’ later on (i.e. legislation for a plastic tax).

Finally, we considered three characters who are affected by the problem. Never in fear of generalising we decided upon William, the CEO of Plastic Co; Susan the single mother doctor; and Manny the Manta Ray. William is ignorant of the plastic pollution, focused only upon increasing revenue for his beloved Plastic Co. Susan is aware of the terrible effects of plastic pollution on marine ecosystems after watching Blue Planet II, but only has time to buy ready meals and takeaways generating two bin bags full of plastic a week! Manny yearns for the times of his forebears, where life was one big plankton party in the azure seas – but now he has to battle discarded fishing lines and the plastic soup flooded out to sea after heavy rains. Three very different individuals, but all linked to the same issue. Plastic.

Since the session, we’ve all met our partners again. We visited the Kemira R&D department to discuss how we can try to decrease the epidemic of single use plastics. A really interesting afternoon ensued – are biodegradable alternatives better than bio-based ones? How does one really effect a fundamental change upon the industry when the plastic packaging change consists of Kemira → Board & paper producers → Brand owners → Retailers → Consumers → Waste management? Legislation is key, but what is a ‘plastic’?

To sum up, a question: do you recycle your cartons in the plastic bin or the cardboard bin?

Answer: Liquid packaging board (recycling code 81) is 75% paperboard, 20% polyethylene and 5% aluminium and so is recycled in the cardboard bin.


Group Post Plastics

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