Kevin McCloud’s 10 plastic pollution solutions

At the last Grand Designs Live in Birmingham, Kevin McCloud and Friends of the Earth sat down to discuss possible ways to solve the plastic pollution crisis. Read Kevin's insightful round up.

By Jenny Mcfarlane | 29 November 2018

Kevin McCloud has put together a 10 point action plan to tackle the plastic pollution problem.

Kevin McCloud on stage with Friends of the Earth and Join the Pipe campaigners talking about the plastic pollution crisis at grand designs live at the NEC in October 2018 - kevin mccloud on plastic pollution - granddesignsmagazine.com

Image: Bircan Tulgan

There are, no doubt, a thousand things you or I could do to save the planet. We could buy and consume less, recycle more, save water, become vegetarian and walk everywhere. We could give all our money to developing-world, goat-breeding charities or we could even stop breathing. We certainly need to do something about plastic.

Every industry on the planet uses plastic in some form. Our cars, products, machines and homes are full of a host of different chemical plastics. In construction, they’re used extensively on site – for safety barriers, hard hats, tapes, plumbing pipes, electrical cables, fittings, floors, wallcoverings, paints, decking, doors, insulation, membranes, glues, doorbells, drains and downpipes.

Even the most determined green constructor will succumb to a buried waste pipe made from PVC, one of the most noxious plastics on the planet because of its resistance to being recycled and its habit of leaching chlorine into the environment. Very few people resort to old-fashioned clay pipework.

Grand Designs Live has a policy of selling no drinks in single-use plastic bottles. We are also lucky enough to have Friends of the Earth as a sponsor and, in October, I was able to share a platform with FoE’s campaigner on plastics, Emma Priestland, together with Andrew Eversden of Join the Pipe, a charity that aims to bring the ‘power of tap water to everybody everywhere’ with reusable drinking bottles and free water standpipes, as well as Stella Corrall from Lucentia, an artist and designer who reuses, melts and fuses waste plastic to make objects of extraordinary beauty, such as chandeliers, which change the way we view the raw material. A panel of experts with wide-ranging, practical experience of our plastic world.