Updated: Feb 9
We’re all well aware of the issues, we’ve watched Sir David Attenborough on TV, we’ve heard Greta Thunberg telling it like it is, we’ve seen the scary images in the media – the plastic in the oceans, the raging bush fires, polar bears stood on shrinking ice flows, children drinking filthy water.
Put simply, we know all too well that we – the human race – are busy making a right old mess of the planet we live on. Yet in the day to day, we don’t feel empowered to do enough about it.
But wait, that’s ok, there are some very big organisations on the case. The Paris Agreement, The Kyoto Protocol, The United Nations? They’re dealing with the global environmental issues aren’t they? The ozone layer, greenhouse gases, carbon footprints, water scarcity, plastic pollution, these are massive problems, way too big for the likes of you and I to help solve, right?
Making a difference can be all about making incremental change, and we can all play our part in that, especially if that change can be put into the context of our everyday lives. And that’s precisely what founder and CEO of Hubbub, Trewin Restorick, is doing by revolutionising the way that environmental messages are communicated to you and I.
‘You have to start where people are at.’
So, where does our story start? After becoming aware of ‘the environmental side of things’ whilst working in Plymouth close to the nuclear submarine base, Trewin joined ‘Friends of the Earth’, becoming head of fundraising and enjoying an experience that he looks back on as his ‘training ground’.
‘That’s where I really started to understand about sustainability, that was my education in sustainability.’
Something wasn’t quite fitting with Trewin’s approach though, and he felt that whilst there is always room for kicking down doors, something more constructive was needed. It was time for change, and after spotting an ad it was ‘Global Action Plan’ that provided new opportunities to make a difference.
‘It was just a name, about £20 in the bank, no office, no computer. It was back to the beginning big time.’
Almost 21 years on and Global Action Plan was partnering with local authorities, organisations and businesses to deliver award-winning behaviour change programmes that connect ‘what’s good for people and good for the planet’ – something it continues to do today.
Despite the successes, Trewin still believed there was more that could be done to connect with people’s everyday lives. Environmental groups were bad at to talking to mainstream audiences. Their language was laden with jargon. Imagery was all too grim and negative. And so, in 2014, the idea was born to create Hubbub, ‘a lifestyle change charity’.
‘Everything we do should be relevant to people’s daily lives, and should be part of their daily conversation.’
Hubbub would concentrate on the food people eat, the clothes they wear, the homes they live in, their neighbourhoods, their lives. Reference points would be taken from familiar consumer brands who communicate brilliantly. Messaging would be positive, practical and based on sound science.
Hubbub would collaborate with businesse and reach the people where the people are at, and it’s our privilege to show you how they’re doing it.
Combating litter problems, raising awareness of plastic pollution, addressing food waste - innovative, creative, practical and thoroughly engaging campaigns, here’s just a few of Trewin’s favourites since launching the charity.
Containing plastic, going into drains, putting plastic into the water system, cigarette butts are the most dropped pieces of litter in the UK, and research has pointed to blokes having a smoke after leaving the pub as the main culprits.
Hubbub’s solution? An ingenious cigarette bin where you can vote on one of the biggest debates in football.
‘Who is the best footballer in the world, is it Ronaldo or Messi, vote with your cigarette butt.’
With 76,000 Facebook likes in the first day, the campaign then went worldwide and through a social enterprise set up by the charity, now sells bins all around the world, cutting cigarette littering by 30% wherever it goes.
A classic ‘nudge technique’ being used to stop littering and generate income to support the charity. Result!
After collecting lots and lots of discarded plastic bottles – and let’s face it, there’s plenty of them – they were taken up to Scotland and made into plastic planks. The planks were then given to the Queen’s boat builder no less, and he then made a 99% recycled plastic boat from them.
Launched in London’s Docklands, the good ship ‘Poly-Mer’ takes up to 12 people on ‘plastic fishing’ trips, and she is the first in a fleet of what is now seven boats.
Businesses pay to take these dockland trips as team building exercises and plastic pollution awareness, and the money made is used to subsidise school kids so they can go free as part of the curriculum.
So far more than 2,500 people have been Plastic Fishing, collecting over 2,800 plastic bottles from London's Docklands and 300KG of recyclable plastic. After plastic fishing, 90% of participants pledged not to buy a plastic bottle for a month. Result!
The average family of four wastes £720 worth of food a year, and so many businesses throw out fruit and veg at the end of every day. Enter the community fridge, taking the food that would have been thrown away and putting it in fridges and freezers throughout the community.
And it doesn’t stop there. People who grow vegetables are also contributing, so that anyone can come and take good, healthy food.
Between November 2019 and October 2020, 110 fridges in the Community Fridge Network redistributed the equivalent of over 4 million meals - over 2,000 tonnes of food surplus - to over 150,000 people around the UK. Result!
These are just three examples of the incredible, innovative and meaningful work of Trewin Restorick and his amazing team at Hubbub. Even as we write and record this episode of ONEOFTHE8 they are working in partnership with O2 to rehome unused smartphones, provide free data, and connect some of the 1.9 million homes in the UK without internet.
Ballot bins, plastic fishing, community fridges, free phones and data, Hubbub are doing way more than just tackling the problems, they’re putting smiles on peoples faces whilst they’re doing it.
‘People want to enjoy their lives, and they want to do the right thing, so we try and put the two things together.’
We all know that we could and should do more to address climate change and lessen environmental impact, and through people like Hubbub we are being empowered and enabled to do just that in our everyday lives. So, it’s only right and proper that we give the last word to the founder of this inspirational change making charity, Trewin Restorick.
‘The environmental world can tend to be viewed as very middle-class, and very expensive. That’s the myth that we’re just trying to break. If you use resources effectively it’s not only good for the environment but it helps people save money and it helps level up some of the disparities we have in our society.’