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Press release, embargoed until 00.01am, 28th August 2019

BIRMINGHAM CROWNED WINNER OF THE UK’S FIRST ‘PLASTIC FISHING’ COMPETITION Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country awarded with its own plastic fishing boat to help tackle plastic pollution in local canal and river network Birmingham has today been crowned winner of the UK’s first ‘plastic fishing’ competition by environmental charity, Hubbub. Following a UK-wide tour, the Poly Roger – a 12-seater punt made from 99% recycled plastic – has been awarded to the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country after it beat organisations in three other cities to win the boat, built to help clean up plastic pollution in UK waterways. The Poly Roger’s plastic fishing tour started in April, visiting Manchester, Scotland, Bristol and Birmingham, where Hubbub partnered with local organisations and volunteers in each location who had nominated their area to join the tour as part of a competition in partnership with the Daily Mirror. The tour saw residents being taken out on plastic fishing trips to raise awareness of the growing levels of plastic pollution in UK waterways and encourage more people to recycle their used plastic. The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country was chosen as the winner after 138 volunteers took part in collecting 28 bags of litter in just six days. In the coming months the organisation will use the Poly Roger to offer plastic fishing as part of its ‘Wild Work Days’ initiative which encourages businesses to give something back to the local area. The Trust will use the boat to help it measure biodiversity in the region and to educate schools, community groups and members of the public further on the issue. The plastic fishing initiative has come from Hubbub and has been built using funds collected from Starbucks’ 5p charge on drinks purchased in a paper cup across its 950 stores nationwide. The Poly Roger is only the third boat of its kind in the world and the first to launch outside of London. The craftsman tasked with building the boat was expert boat-builder Mark Edwards MBE, who also built the Queen’s barge ‘Gloriana’. The design is based on a traditional punt, but it’s made from the most modern of materials - Plaswood, a hardwearing alternative to wood that is made entirely from recycled single-use plastic - and it’s powered by a rechargeable electric motor making it the most sustainable of boats. During its tour of the UK, the Poly Roger made 55 trips and took 599 volunteers plastic fishing. Overall, 2,233 plastic bottles and 192 bags of general litter were collected from the UKs waterways.


Jacob Williams, Community Engagement Officer from Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country said: “We’re delighted to have won the Poly Roger! Reducing plastic pollution in the oceans starts closer to home, in our local canals and rivers. It’s going to be a fantastic resource for us to engage communities all over Birmingham and the Black Country so we can work together to clean our waterways whilst showcasing and protecting the vibrant nature and wildlife found around them.” Gavin Ellis, Co-founder and Director of Hubbub, said: “Plastic pollution in our waterways is widespread so it’s been fantastic to see the Poly Roger go on tour to help tackle and raise awareness of the issue. We were really impressed with the way the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country brought people together to promote plastic fishing in Birmingham during their time with the boat and are really excited to see the good work continue over the coming months. We hope the Poly Roger will make a real difference to the local waterways in Birmingham and act as a constant reminder of the importance of recycling plastic.” Jaz Rabadia, UK senior manager of energy and sustainability, Starbucks Europe Middle East and Africa, said: “Minimising our environmental footprint and making a positive difference to the planet is a big focus for our business which is why we continue to support Hubbub and initiatives including the Plastic Fishing tour. The tour has been a great success and we’ve been so impressed with how the public has responded and with the organisations involved. The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country is a very deserving winner and we’re looking forward to seeing how it uses the Poly Roger to help tackle and raise awareness of plastic pollution.” To find out more about plastic fishing across the UK and how to get involved in Birmingham visit www.hubbub.org.uk/plastic-fishing-tour.

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NOTES TO EDITORS For more information contact the Hubbub team at Barley Communications: Katie Raby katie.raby@barleycommunications.co.uk 07896 533547

ABOUT HUBBUB Hubbub is a charity which explores innovative ways to interest mainstream consumers in important sustainability issues, through different ‘hubs’ of activity: Food; Fashion; Homes; Neighbourhoods. Hubbub’s previous campaigns have included #SquareMileChallenge, the UK’s first large scale solution to coffee cup recycling, #GiftABundle to get pre-loved baby clothes back into circulation and #PumpkinRescue to encourage more people to eat the carvings from their Halloween Pumpkins. www.hubbub.org.uk Twitter: @hubbubuk


ABOUT WILDLIFE TRUST FOR BIRMINGHAM AND THE BLACK COUNTRY The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country is a local charity uniquely protecting the wildlife of Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton. It is one of 46 local, independent Wildlife Trusts working to make the UK a better place for people and wildlife. With more than 800,000 members, the Wildlife Trusts are the largest UK voluntary organisation dedicated to conserving the full range of the UK’s habitats and species, whether they be in the countryside, in cities or at sea. Collectively they manage over 2,300 nature reserves covering more than 90,000 hectares. Locally The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country works to conserve biodiversity, improve the environment and raise awareness and understanding of wildlife issues. It has over 7,000 members and has projects, nature reserves and environment centres across the area.

A B O U T S TA R B U C K S C O F F E E C O M PA N Y Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting high-quality arabica coffee. Today, with more than 28,000 stores around the globe, Starbucks is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. Through our unwavering commitment to excellence and our guiding principles, we bring the unique Starbucks Experience to life for every customer through every cup. To share in the experience; please visit us in our stores or online at www.starbucks.com. For news on Starbucks in EMEA, please visit www.news.starbucks/EMEA

ABOUT PLASTIC FISHING Plastic Fishing was inspired by a project in Amsterdam called Plastic Whale, which combines sightseeing with cleaning the city’s canals. Christine Armstrong, an author and circular economy champion, saw the potential to adapt the idea for the waterways near her East London home and linked up with Paul Bew, a fellow parent and Yachtmaster, the Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre and local school, Canary Wharf College to set up a pilot. The pilot proved they could clean up the docks, collect valuable plastics and inspire the next generation to take care of the environment too. Keen to take the idea further, the school was delighted when Hubbub heard about the project and offered to help take it to scale. We collaborated to turn their dream of building a punt dedicated to cleaning the docks into a reality, teaming up with Mark Edwards MBE, a Richmond-based boat builder.

A B O U T H E L P I N G H A N D E N V I R O N M E N TA L Helping Hand Environmental have kindly provided litter-pickers and litter-picking gloves for the Plastic Fishing Boat on its tour. They are committed to providing support, for everything litter and lend a helping hand to you when tackling it. As a business we want to assist in making our country more sustainable; creating a cleaner Britain for everybody to enjoy – something we are award-winning for. www.HHEnvironmental.co.uk


ABOUT PLASWOOD Plaswood recycled plastic lumber has been manufactured in Dumfries, Scotland, by BPI Recycled Products since 1995. BPI Recycled Products is the largest recycler of waste plastic films in Europe with an annual plastics recycling capacity in excess of 100,000 tonnes. Plaswood is manufactured 100% from a variety of recovered and recycled waste plastics including bottles, agricultural films plus post use plastics. Plaswood requires no maintenance and unlike wood will not rot, splinter or degrade with age. Plaswood is the environmentally superior alternative to conventional construction materials such as steel, concrete and wood with a much lower carbon footprint and energy consumption. http://www.plaswoodgroup.com

Profile for HUBBUB

Birmingham crowned winner of the UK's first 'Plastic Fishing' competition l Press Release l Hubbub  

Birmingham has today been crowned winner of the UK’s first ‘plastic fishing’ competition by environmental charity, Hubbub. Following a UK-wi...

Birmingham crowned winner of the UK's first 'Plastic Fishing' competition l Press Release l Hubbub  

Birmingham has today been crowned winner of the UK’s first ‘plastic fishing’ competition by environmental charity, Hubbub. Following a UK-wi...

Profile for hubbubuk