No, it’s not a table selling bottled water! It’s quite the opposite…

The Water Table is our table on which we’re displaying information on the issues surrounding single-use petroleum plastic, alternatives to plastic and facts about our campaign, as well as games and interactive activities to help engage the younger generation. We’re touring the UK with our Water Table, visiting festivals and events and educating the public on why plastic is bad for the environment.
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The Water Table covers all different aspects of plastic, from pollution to alternatives, such as:

‘What killed Alby?’ – We cut open my sister’s albatross teddy and inserted inside a bag of plastic items (such as bottle tops and lighters). This is to represent the thousands of albatross chicks that die every year from being – accidentally – fed plastic by their parents, and consequently starve with a full stomach.
alby
‘The Recycling Red Herring’ – This section of our water table is dedicated to the myths and twisted truths surrounding recycling. We have a sheet that displays the amount of recycled plastic contained in each bottled water manufacturer’s bottles, which is generally 0%, and also a fact page about recycling.
red-herring
The Micro Trio – Here, we have information about micro-plastics, micro-beads and micro-fibres. These minute ocean polluters are not widely known about, but millions are entering the oceans and waterways every year. We have a small section of the Water Table displaying information on microplastics, and have a ‘Guess the amount of microplastics in the jar’ competition, as well as pictures showing their effects on even the smallest ocean creatures – plankton.

We also have a examples of clothing made from fully natural materials, such as cotton and bamboo. Natural microfibres biodegrade, so clothing such as BAM clothing (which is an example of bamboo clothing) are better for the environment than garments made from polyester (plastic).

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The Non Plastic Alternatives – We have examples of a few of the non-plastic water alternatives on display on the Water Table, so that once people have learnt why we should refuse plastic, they know how to.
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Big 4 Plastic Items’ Alternatives – On the Water Table, we have reusable alternatives to the ‘Big 4’ plastic polluters (plastic bags, lids, straws and bottles), so that people can see for themselves the cheap – and more environmentally friendly – options for them to purchase instead of single-use plastic. These include Onya Bags, Keep Cup and Water To Go.
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Videos loaded onto an iPad highlighting aspects of plastic pollution, including:

> The seduction of plastic
> 2 Minute Beach Clean
> Turtle with a straw stuck up its nose ( upsetting)
> 6 Reasons not to buy plastic bottled water
> Plastic bottles are killing our seabirds

A Deadly 100,000 book showing plastic’s effect on the oceans.

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Games and activities – We really wanted to make the Water Table resonate with the younger generation, and so we have a range of games to help engage kids, such as a bottle top sliding game (to help kids understand that most bottle tops are put to landfill or littered), a microscope with different materials to look at close up, and a bottle showing how much oil is used to make a plastic bottle.
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We also have a ‘2 Minute Micro Beach Clean’ game, based on the original 2 Minute Beach Clean.
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The reactions we’ve got from people visiting the table are just what we hoped. Many people are really shocked by what we tell (and show) them, especially when it comes to the ‘recycling red herring’ (see the above bullet list). It’s widely thought that a recycled bottle will be made into a new bottle, but this, like most things the bottle manufacturers tell us, is a bit misleading. Most bottles are down cycled into other items, such as fleeces and carpets (which have their own environmental issues), so only a very small percentage of new plastic bottles contain recycled plastic. We have in word from most bottled water manufacturers that they use no recycled plastic, and that is one of the most powerful things for most people.

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Overall, though, we’ve had a really positive response to our Water Table. We’ve had lots more signatures to add to our petition, had interest in the non-plastic and reusable alternatives to bottled water and had plenty of support from people of all ages. So far we’ve visited three festivals:

The Good Life Experience Festival

The (National Trust) South West Outdoor Festival

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Also in the pipeline, we’ve got Yestival in October and hopefully more festivals in the future to add to the list.

And to finish, one lady who was particularly interested in the Water Table and what we’re doing said a comment that perfectly sums up our campaign:

 “So when we don’t see any plastic bottles in the supermarkets, we’ll know who to thank.”

Amy.

Main Header Image Credit - Tim Bradley Photography

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