The ‘Attenborough effect’: Turning the tide on plastic pollution

David Attenborough sitting on the beach



We were thrilled to see the news this month that 53% of consumers say they have reduced the amount of single-use plastic within the last year. And the authors of the promising study, GlobalWebIndex, largely attribute this ground-breaking change to the ‘Attenborough effect’, praising the impact of Sir David Attenborough’s acclaimed Blue Planet II TV series and other awareness-raising initiatives over the last year.


This is no surprise to us at Team AoC, as HUGE Attenborough fans; however, it is interesting to see the tangible effects the iconic broadcaster has had, over a year since the original air date of the series. The research, which questioned 3,833 consumers in the UK and US about sustainable packaging, also found that in the UK, 82% of respondents who value sustainable packaging say it’s important to them because they’re concerned about the future of the environment.

Turning the tide

Scientists estimate that a shocking eight million tons of plastic end up in our oceans each year – adding to the estimated 150 million tons currently there. According to statistics from the United Nations, if current levels of pollution continue, there will be more plastic than fish in the seas by 2050. But together we can turn help prevent more plastic pollution with small steps to cutting out single-use plastic in our daily lives. The battle against plastic has undeniably gained momentum in recent years, with many alternative products and packaging, mass ocean clean-ups and multinational companies joining the fight. 


Blue Planet II

A major turning point in public opinion was undoubtedly Blue Planet II, which aired in the UK in October 2017. The last episode featured shocking images of the ocean and coastlines covered in pollution, and various marine life feeding on plastic. Attenborough urged viewers to become more conscious of the waste they produce – and we have clearly taken heed!


Data showed that the search term for ‘plastic recycling’ increased by 55% and website traffic to The Marine Conservation Society saw a 169% increase after the finale of aired. And the recent study by GlobalWebIndex shows that people are continuing to listen, with over half of respondents reducing their disposable plastic usage. Not only that, the study found that consumers are guided mostly by media sources and peer groups.


Blue Planet II is a culmination of decades of Attenborough’s dedication to showing us the wonders of the Earth we live in – something that has given more weight to his warnings about plastic. During the final episode, he said: ‘Surely we have a responsibility to care for our blue planet. The future of humanity, and indeed all life on Earth, now depends on us.’ View his rallying call in full here.


Our promise

Here at Advent of Change, we're on a mission to make the world a better place, and we believe that sustainable, recyclable products and packaging are instrumental in helping the environment and the creatures that live within it. It is a subject close to our hearts – we were proud to announce that our very first product, the Advent of Change calendar, was fully recyclable. Our commitment to sustainability has also influenced a number of our World-Changer Challenges, especially Challenge #2: ‘Swap a disposable drinks bottle/cup for a reusable one’ and Challenge #5: ‘No single-use plastic for a whole day’. Join us in the environmental revolution!