This is a story about plastic soup and how we are fighting against it.

The plastic soup problem can only be solved at its source by reducing the amount of plastic pollution that enters our environment. Otherwise we're mopping with an open tap.

We advocate for better regulations, such as deposits and recycling, and put pressure on companies to take responsibility for the litter their products produce. We believe this is how plastic pollution will be stopped.

Our approach: agenda-setting, activation, cooperation, and forcing breakthroughs.

Plastic soup starts on land

The plastic soup is the plastic that we see accumulating in the oceans. Virtually all of the plastic in our oceans comes from land, with key culprits being disposable packaging, polystyrene foam, and foil that has made its way from the street to open water.

Plastic litter ends up in rivers, seas, and oceans. You can find it everywhere, from high in the mountains to the deepest sea troughs. Only 1% floats in the oceans; the rest slowly sinks to the bottom.

Water becomes Plastic Soup.

Plastic is not disappearing

An enormous amount - and increasingly more - of plastic is produced. Hundreds of millions of tons every year. It is very suitable and very cheap packaging material. So cheap that the packaging material has no value and is not handled with care. But once in nature it does not disappear, it only breaks down into ever smaller pieces and eventually into microplastics and nanoplastics, invisible small pieces that enter the body.

Plastic paradox

Almost all seabirds have plastic in their stomachs; fish and turtles get entangled in it and die en masse. Nanoplastics are even found in the wombs of pregnant women.

Just as plastic is now produced and used, part of it will always end up in nature, in rivers, seas and oceans. This is how we've plasticized the world.

This is the plastic paradox: the increasingly massive production of cheap plastic for impulse purchases, while the material is unsuitable for impulsive behavior. The careless throwing away of plastics has extremely harmful and costly consequences on a global scale.

The plastic soup solution: tackling the source

Awareness is good, but also buying less plastic-packed goods and exercising responsible disposal habits is critical. Additionally, clean-up campaigns help to reduce plastic pollution to some extent. But this is far from outweighing the continuous increase in plastic litter seen day in and day out. 

Recycling alone is not the solution either.

The only solution is to tackle the problem at the source: to reduce single-use plastics, i.e. bring about change across manufacturers of the products that cause plastic litter.

The Hold polluting companies responsible

Often these companies do not consider themselves responsible. They put the blame on consumers and are unwilling to go beyond what is legally required of them to solve the plastic problem.

For example, let's look at Mars: We believe that if discarded Mars wrappers are floating everywhere in nature, Mars can't ignore their responsibility. If Mars does nothing about this, they will remain a top polluting company and will continue to act against their own principle of Corporate Responsibility - see #MissionMars. The same goes for many other companies.

Rules and social pressure

We hold companies responsible for their (plastic) litter and believe that policymakers should ensure better regulation, such as deposits that lead to reuse, additional taxes on products that cause pollution (“True pricing”) and bans on highly harmful products. This requires social pressure.

The Plastic Soup Surfer Approach

1 Agenda setting

We bring attention to the problem of plastic pollution and its causes. We do this through spectacular surf and  SUP  campaigns, such as the North Sea crossing or the SUP trip across the Rhine. For example, we put the need for deposits on plastic bottles and cans on the map. We put pressure on polluting companies and politicians. We write motions that lead to better legislation (deposit).

2 Activate

We activate people to participate, such as elementary school students who ask to separate waste in the classroom. Or by asking people to send us pictures of litter like Knetterballen and Mars or AntaFlu wrappers through our app. Or by partnering with our community, like the Plastic Avengers. With more people, photos and data, we create more pressure and more mass, which companies and politicians are sensitive to.

In our Plastic Talk shows, we engage with scientists, activists, politicians and business people to find new ways and strategies to fight plastic soup.

3 Connect

In order to achieve change, we enter into discussions with all parties. With Mars , the chain stores that sell polluting products , the manufacturers of candies in plastic wrappers  as well as the packaging industry. We show them how much pollution their products cause. We remind them of their responsibility. If necessary, we use data or legal means.

4 Breakthrough

We are always driving towards a breakthrough: changing the system and the behavior of companies; deposits on plastic bottles and cans, waste separation, less packaging, biodegradable packaging...

New breakthroughs

By appealing actions, cooperation, purposefulness, tact, creativity, flexibility and perseverance, much has been achieved so far and we will continue to force new breakthroughs.

I am not accusing the material, but the way we put it to use. Plastic is a catalyst to our throw-away society.

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