Plastic reduction in a post-COVID world

In this podcast we take a look at the impact of COVID-19 on plastic reduction. Have consumers become more aware of the plastic packaging and the impact on the environment of the products they buy or has the opposite occurred, with a focus on health and hygiene turning their attention elsewhere?

Joining us for a lively debate on where the future of plastic reduction is headed are Susan Hansen, Global Strategist, Food Packaging and Logistics, Rabobank, David Jones, CEO & Founder, Just One Ocean, Simon Ellin, CEO, The Recycling Association and Geoff Brighty, Founder & MD, Environmental Sustainability Associates Limited.

About our panel

Susan Hansen, Global Strategist, Food Packaging and Logistics, Rabobank

As the Global Strategist for F&A Supply Chains, Susan Hansen is responsible for developing Rabobank’s global research portfolio and sector expertise related to food packaging and food logistics. Food packaging spans all relevant packaging materials including metal, glass, corrugated paper, folding carton and plastics, while Food logistics mainly covers cold chains and food distribution. Food waste and sustainability are currently hot themes in Susan’s sector research.

Susan and her eight-person, globally operating, team is part of the RaboResearch Food&Agribusiness network of close to 90 analysts worldwide. The analysts are experts in various fields; covering the whole food value chain from farmer to retail, as part of Rabobank’s Banking for Food strategy.

David Jones, CEO and Founder, Just One Ocean

For more than 10 years David Jones, a professional underwater photographer and media specialist, has been raising concerns about the damage we are doing to our oceans, and in particular the effect of single-use plastics.

He has worked for a number of production companies including the BBC alongside TV personalities such as David Attenborough, Bear Grylls and Ben Fogle. As diving supervisor, cameraman and executive adviser he worked on the award-winning film,  ‘A Plastic Ocean’, which was 7 years in the making.

In 2009 he joined The Plastic Oceans Foundation where he worked as an education, science and sustainability adviser. Four years later he started his own venture Just One Ocean, a registered UK charity, in order to support research and promote awareness of ocean issues.

He is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Portsmouth researching the impact of microplastics on the coastal environment and the potential use of citizen science to help resolve the issue.

Simon Ellin, CEO, The Recycling Foundation

After initially graduating in environmental science and completing a PhD on the effects of various air pollutants on the ecosystem, Simon moved into the recycling arena nearly 30 years ago. Initially cutting his teeth as one of the first local government Waste Disposal  Authority recycling officers, with Staffordshire County Council.

Still based in Staffordshire, and married with two daughters, Simon has subsequently held a variety of roles in the recycling industry, spending significant periods as a mill buyer for first Cheshire Recycling (now Palm Recycling), and then Smurfit Kappa. Sandwiched in between was a period working in an operational role for Cleanaway (now Veoila), and in the facilities management sector.

Simon joined The Recycling Association in 2009 and is now Chief Executive of both the Recycling Association, and its trading company, IWPP Limited. Simon is very clear on the strategy for the Association over the next few years and lists the balance of supporting members through probably the most difficult trading conditions they have ever experienced whilst retaining compliance and quality as his greatest challenge.

Geoff Brighty, Founder and MD, Environmental Sustainability Associates Limited

Dr Brighty is a sustainability consultant with a career spanning 30 years in the environmental protection and regulation sector. He is a published research scientist, with a PhD in Fish Reproduction and Aquaculture, and has over 20 publications to his name on environmental pollution issues and flood risk.

After leaving his science and chemical regulatory role, in 2004 Geoff moved into the operational-facing part of the Environment Agency.  Here as a Deputy Director-Area Manager, he was responsible for waste, water regulation and flood risk management for an area stretching from Oxford to the East Coast, as well as customer facing work with local MPs and CEOs.

After leaving the Agency in 2014, Geoff established his sustainability consultancy working on environmental issues including flooding, water quality and climate change adaptation for Governments, universities and businesses. He also joined the NGO Plastic Oceans, where he led sustainability, science and policy activities for the release of the Foundation’s film A Plastic Ocean in 2017, and is currently Science Advisor. He is Trustee of the Rivers Trust, and the Norfolk Rivers Trust.

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Plastic reduction in a post-COVID world