With concerns over single-use plastics making headlines in recent months, London-based recycling company Bywaters this week played host to a ten-metre whale made of waste plastics.
The ‘Plasticus’ sculpture was produced by TV company Sky in partnership with Bywaters to raise awareness of the problem of plastics being dumped in the oceans and the threat they pose to marine life.
Bywaters provided all of the plastics used to make the piece from its beach collections in the South East of England and client sites.
The whale is the centrepiece of Sky’s Ocean Rescue campaign, a global drive aimed at raising awareness of the plight faced by the world’s oceans and was first unveiled in London in August 2017.
Weighing 250kg, Plasticus mirrors the amount of plastic released into the seas every second. Plastic bottles, packaging and bags are among the most common items discovered in the seas.
Bywaters recycles the equivalent of 500 Plasticus whales every week at its state-of-the-art materials recycling facility in Bow, East London, which is the largest of its kind in the capital.
The sculpture has recently returned from a nationwide tour of the UK where it was viewed by over half a million people at 12 locations from Edinburgh to Newquay.
During its two-week stay in Bow, Bywaters is offering its clients the opportunity to view the installation first-hand.
Siân Glover, Bywaters’ head of social enterprise, is a keen environmentalist and is championing the initiative.
She said: “It is predicted that by 2050 there will be just as much plastic in the ocean as marine life. It is a massive concern to us. The quantity of plastic in our oceans is going up and up.
“Plasticus is a visualisation of this problem and it is very powerful. When you get close you can see the full scale of the issue.”
In order to reduce the number of plastics entering the waterways and oceans, Bywaters is calling for everyone to make small changes such as switching from single use water bottles to reusable bottles and from single use carrier bags to bags for life.
It is also keen to help its clients do their bit by offering the help of its ‘green gurus’ service and the opportunity to get involved with initiatives such as litter picks on beaches.
Ms Glover said: “It is really important to stress that even one person can make a difference.”
Constructed from plastic bottles, straws and film, Plasticus will remain in Bow until Sunday, when it travels to Germany to begin a tour around Europe.
Bywaters’ partnership with Sky represents the latest environmental initiative by the family-run recycling company, which has installed the largest Solar PV array fitted to an existing London building and ensures that all its vehicles meet Euro 5/6 emission standards.