Recent Plastics Activities

February 2020 - Talking to schools


We visited schools to give talks. The talk on plastic was designed for the earlier years (e.g. years 1-3) and to be fun, informative and not scary. It shows how we should avoid generating plastic waste because while natural materials break down in a compost heap, plastics do not. And it promotes the use of tap water in re-fillable water bottles (or from a water fountain) instead of buying water. It includes some short film clips showing a speeded up compost heap and how plastic gets carried into the sea.


October 2019 - Talk to Working Women's Network in Twickenham

Sheila gave a slide show and talk in October to the Working Women's Network in Twickenham, titled 'A Plastic Odyssey'.


The talk was both a factual and personal odyssey exploring the impact of plastic pollution not only on the health of our oceans and their associated marine life forms, but also on human mental and physical health. It referenced FoE's campaign website pages that explain the connection between plastic pollution and global warming.


Listeners were told that, apart from the emissions caused by the manufacture of plastic, gases such as methane are also emitted by the gradual breakdown of waste into microbeads. Microfibres are now so ubiquitous that a human is consuming, on average, the equivalent of one plastic credit card a week from the accumulated pollution in the air, water and food.


The talk concluded with a more optimistic section, highlighting some of the projects seeking to address this massive problem.


The evening included interactive activities, for instance, showing audience members how they could cut down their plastic intake, and actions they could take to join the campaign.

10 October - West London College Freshers' Fair

Virginia & Donald ran an EFoE stall at the Freshers Fair

at the Ealing Green site of West London College.

The students at this FE college are aged between 16 and 18.

Our Stall's theme was mainly plastics and climate change.

more ...

1 September Brentford Festival

Rupa Huq MP visited our stall to show support for


She tweeted

"... West London had

this weekend with plenty of ideas including Ealing Friends of the Earth against single use plastics ..."



15 June - Hanwell Carnival

We took part in the Hanwell Carnival again this year, focusing on the Plastics and Air Pollution & Climate Change campaigns.


Our stall included information boards and campaign leaflets, zero-waste products to sell, and a selection of second-hand books and plants, also for sale.


EFoE members took turns wearing our ‘Octopus’ festooned with plastic rubbish (see photo), and we engaged with visitors, especially families, about recycling, encouraging them to sign the Plastics campaign petition and buy some of our products. We had a separate table and bench for children to colour in templates of marine animals.


We attracted many families to our stall during the day and made a healthy profit to put towards this year's activities. In all we collected nearly three pages of signatures on a petition urging the Government to reduce manufacturers' and retailers' production of plastic waste.


6 December 2018 - Screening of 'A Plastic Ocean' in Southall

EFoE with Southall Transition Movement held a public viewing of the award-winning documentary 'A Plastic Ocean' at St. John's Parish Centre in Southall.


The film was made by journalist Craig Leeson and free diver Tanya Streeter, helped by a team of scientists and environmentalists, to highlight the dangers posed by plastic pollution to our oceans’ eco-systems.


The film offered a fascinating insight into the way scientists conduct their research, through visits to the countries and regions of our oceans that are the most affected.


Apart from having a devastating effect on wildlife such as shearwaters, albatross, turtles, whales, dolphins and seals, plastic pollution is slowly poisoning the native populations who live near or on the trash outlets of the world's most-polluting rivers.

more ...

29 September - FoE Vegan & Zero Waste Fair

Sheila went to help run a stall organised by Edward Burke of central FOE, at the 'Vegan and Zero Waste Market event' held in the beautiful conservatory of the Millenium Gloucester Hotel in South Kensington.

more ...

26 September - Freshers Fair at West London College

The Freshers Fair at the Ealing Green site of West London College on 26th September 2018 between 11:00am and 2:00pm. The fair is held in the space that is the Student Common Area and Canteen which overlooks the park. The students at this FE college are usually aged between 16 and 18. The college also holds this event at Hammersmith (out of our area) and Southall.

more ...         photos

Sunday 2 September - EFOE Octopus at Brentford Festival in Blondin Park

With help from Maggie Thorburn of West London FOE and Antony Agius from Brentford Green Party, Colin and Sheila arrived at the Festival site just before 10 am and erected the gazebo and laid out the stall. It boded well that the sun was shining and the sky was blue.

Other EFOE members arrived at 12noon.  Antony donned the Octopus costume and we started the business of attracting families to our stall in order to discuss plastic over-packaging and limited recycling.The children were asked to untie items of plastic waste from the litter encumbering the poor creature, and then choose a suitable box to deposit it in and gain a campaign sticker. The choice included a 'Refuse' and 'Reduce' box in order to influence these options. By the end of the day, we had successfully collected 3 and a half pages of signatures from people urging the government to reduce manufacturers' and retailers' production of plastic waste and two and a half pages of those opposing Heathrow's proposals for a third runway.


Later, Colin had a short stint of being the Octopus but finding that the day was becoming progressively hotter & hotter, making the experience uncomfortable, we opted instead to prop it up on its stand & really concentrate on drawing people to our information and product stall. We sold second hand books on the subject of nature & green themes, cotton T-shirts with FOE logos, products bought from FOE online store, home made lino-cuts, washing products like home-made soap not containing palm oil and completely natural soap nuts that can substitute for phosphate laden, commercial washing powders. Donald also brought along some honey to sell, made by his bees and bottled by himself and his wife. Including those mentioned, Catherine and Jules talked to visitors to our stall all afternoon to 6 pm and also managed to raise a substantial amount of income from sales and donations which will be put towards our next campaign efforts.


Virginia  was  busy working on behalf of the whole Festival organisation.

It was an added plus to be able to hand out our excellent new recruitment leaflet created by Donald and others and we will cross our fingers for some future results!

All in all, we pulled together to make it a very successful day.

Sunday 29 July - EFOE Octopus at Brentford Festival of Waste

EFoE joined Brentford Recycling Action Group in Brentford Market Place to host an anti-plastic pollution stall at the Festival of Waste organised by local charity 'The Cathja Barge Project'.  more ...

Children recycling plastic

Cllr Guy Lambert with the octopus

Mayor Cllr Samia Chaudhary

Octopus by the recycling lorry

Sheila (right) getting signatures

Nic, octopus & Virginia at the stall

with knitted seascape (click on it for close-up)


Saturday 16 June - Free the Octopus at Hanwell Carnival


The Octopus by our stall


At Hanwell Carnival we asked people to help a poor octopus

by removing bits of discarded plastic it's caught in so it can swim freely again. 


The plastic was then sorted into appropriate containers to be reused, recycled or disposed of safely. 

The Carnival was in Elthorne Park, Hanwell.


more ...

Talking with students








Sheila at Acton Construction and STEM Centre

   Donald, Jules and Nic went to Ealing Green College. Many of the students there thought up some quite ingenious alternative means of dealing with plastic waste, such as sending it off into space or burying it deep in the Earth's core.

  There was discussion about whether there could be an impact on the Earth's atmosphere, leading to further weather disruptions. They also realised that it might be difficult to bore deep enough into the core, and wondered whether doing this might have a volcano-like effect.

  It was good to get the students thinking and beginning to come to the conclusion that it is better to reduce the use of plastics. 

Sheila and Virginia took the stall to the Acton Construction and STEM Centre. Several of the students were aware of the problem, partly thanks to David Attenborough’s ‘Blue Planet’, but still were horrified by the pictures and asked what they could do about it. We suggested that they look at Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and Surfers Against Sewage websites and discuss the issue with their friends. The students were interested to learn that recovered ocean plastic is now being used to make fashion items such as Nike and Adidas trainers.


A number of staff members came to our stall to chat, including the Head of the college. We were able to supply him with addresses of some retailers that manufacture biodegradable cups and cutlery.


22 February 2018 - School Assembly on Pollution by Plastic Straws   

by Sheila

On the invitation of Sarah Parker, the head of Science and Eco schools at Grange Primary School in Ealing, Donald and I prepared two presentations on plastic pollution to deliver to the 260 pupils at assembly, in order to reinforce the work that the children have recently done on the subject.

more ...


23 February 2018 - School Assembly on Pollution by Plastic Bottles  

by Donald

Jules and Donald ran an assembly at the Grange Primary School for children from years 1-3 (5-7 year-olds). The focus was on plastic bottles: the harm they do and the fact that tap water is as good or better and much cheaper than bottled. The idea was to involve the children by asking two of them to pretend to be trees that drop their leaves, and another two to be people throwing away plastic bottles. Then they saw (in a one-minute video) that natural products (leaves, food waste) can be 'cleaned up' by insects, etc., but plastics cannot.