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Teaching kids about the perils of plastic pollution

A fun film teaching kids about the perils of plastic pollution looked to Brunel sociology lecturer Dr Lesley Henderson to help get the message across. 

Released globally for the UN’s World Environment Day, Litter Things Matter aims to inspire children to use less plastic, recycle, and pester parents and families to join in.

Its producers, environmental education network Wastebuster, asked Dr Henderson, who researches how people understand plastic pollution, to help get the script right. T

Following Captain Buster and Cadet Boo’s special mission to Earth to prevent plastic pollution, the video, which reached more than 1.3m people in 16 countries, links to education campaigns in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Its creator, Wastebuster CEO Katy Newnham, started the non-profit after seeing the horrors of plastic pollution first hand working as an underwater photographer.

Dr Henderson was able to share her findings from UK projects exploring ideas about plastic waste and to help target the film messages to key issues such as the use of plastic straws and birthday balloons. The project is a good example of how social science insights can help tailor awareness campaigns and messages to different publics and audiences.

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Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Dr Lesley Henderson

Related Research Group(s)


Sustainable Plastics - SPLaSH group combines the strengths of social scientists in the Department of Social and Political Sciences with colleagues working in the area of plastic pollution from Environmental Sciences, Design, Business & Marketing, and Engineering. We are leading experts on behaviour change, public health protection, resource and waste management, governance aspects and sustainability design.

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Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.

Project last modified 09/01/2024