Producing Greenpeace’s biggest investigation into our plastic waste
Environmental legends, Greenpeace UK, wanted to create a nationwide campaign that will investigate the UK’s plastic usage in an effort to pressure the government to reduce single-use packaging by 50% and ban plastic waste exports by 2025. The Big Plastic Count was a week-long investigation in May that required 75,000 households to count the different types of plastic they use over a week.
Naturally, we were elated when Greenpeace appointed us to work alongside them on this campaign.
“The main point that we’re trying to get across is that we’re just producing far too much plastic full stop. You think the government is doing something about it and they’re just not and I think communicating that and letting people know, [then] the government needs to do something about it” – Maja Darlington, Greenpeace.
Our brief was simple – to empower the nation to investigate the truth about plastic recycling – and we could not wait to bring this brief to life. Greenpeace wanted their viewers to think, feel and do. To think about where their recycling actually goes, to feel fired up and the satisfaction of positive, collective action and to do the plastic tallying needed for the investigation.
Practising sustainability as a collective action is a core belief here at Enviral. So, creating a campaign that holds this as a central theme was a natural choice. We ensured that the language, visuals and content were accessible, appropriate and engaging to the audience.
As a production, this project was fairly complicated, using a number of different actors and locations across Bristol over a number of days, alongside a fantastic crew. Creatively, in order to inspire the nation to take action, it was vital to show a range of different families and individuals in settings which felt relevant and familiar to them. This was achieved through careful consideration and thorough scouting. We also asked the actors to bring in their personal family portraits and cultural items as a special touch of authenticity.
Notes from the team
“From the very start we were aligned with Greenpeace on how important it was to make sure this campaign felt representative, and this became one of the biggest successes of the final videos. Yet it was no small task to convey the array of people we’re blessed to share this island with. From considering access needs right down to authenticity of art department props, we wanted to make sure everyone across the country felt they too could be part of an investigation to make real change.” – Emma Morsi (Production)
Over 96 Billion pieces of plastic were counted by 97,948 households!
“I found the biggest challenge, from a producing point of view, was sourcing a truly diverse crew. The video production world, in some cases justifiably, work with people who they know and trust – but to find diverse budding camera assistants that are keen to join areas of production, is something I would like to do a lot more of. That’s how everyone starts and being aware of these gaps and creating spaces for people is important to bring in to productions – it’s doing your bit in shaping an equality-focused future crew.
Make time pre-production to have conversations with a large enough group of people so that your crew behind the camera is equally as diverse as in front of the camera. Things should be done like this, not for wider merit.” – Lutia Swan-Hutton (Production)
“We started this project by working backwards. We firstly identified the emotions we wanted to tap into and the audience barriers we wanted to overcome. This then allowed us to ensure we used the right tone and the right messages to achieve this. Throughout the scripting process, we worked super closely with the Greenpeace team to make sure that all the key points were included and we struck the right balance between informative and also playful. With so much to say in each video, it was about choosing the vital messages that would inspire people to take part and show why The Big Plastic Count was so important.” – Emma Pauw (Scripting & Strategy)
The result? Our video campaign encouraged 31 MPs and over 97,948 households to take part in counting their plastic for a week in May, which equates to 1 in every 250 households in the UK, counting over 96 billion pieces of plastic. This was the biggest ever investigation into UK household plastics and the data uncovered will be crucial in convincing the government, big brands and supermarkets to take ambitious action on reducing plastic packaging.
The whole team pulled together to create something that we’re really proud of, check out our behind-the-scenes video below to see how the project went…