Tim Etherington-Judge is a busy man. Fresh from his Healthy Hospo launch event, the former Bulleit global ambassador sat down with us to talk about another making-the-world-a-healthier-and-happier-place initiative he’s working on
A picture can say a thousand words. The image of a tiny seahorse wrapped around an item you use – and discard – without thinking about brought Etherington-Judge to tears.
‘I grew up living on the beach in Cornwall, a beautiful three-mile stretch of golden sand at Hayle. It was a wonderful place for a child to grow up. On my recent returns to our family home, I've noticed a disturbing increase of the amount of plastic washed up on the beach.’
Etherington-Judge has always been passionate about nature and hasn’t eaten meat or fish for the past 20 years. A reaction after learning about the ‘environmental destruction the overproduction of meat and fish causes’.
‘As a population we've sacrificed our environment for convenience,’ he says. Up until now, Ethrington-Judge has kept his feelings to himself, for the most part. That was until a recent launch of a whisky product, which delivers small servings in a single-use disposable plastic pouch. ‘That triggered me to stop complaining and attempt to do something to reduce the amount of plastic we dump into our oceans and waterways.’
Empowered, Etherington-Judge did what most modern-day businessmen and philanthropists do: searched for an available domain name and social media handles. Lobbying government is so 2000.
‘It all happened in an afternoon when I was working on Healthy Hospo,’ he explains. ‘I'm easily distracted and before I knew it I had purchased a domain name and all the relative social media handles. I guess you could call that productive procrastination.’
After a matter of minutes, a search for ‘no more plastic’ revealed ‘.club’ was available and the rest is history (in the making).
‘It was cheap and [the availability] spurred the idea of creating a movement or “club” of individuals and businesses that are passionate about reducing our addiction to disposable plastic.’
No More Plastic Club might have been borne out of procrastination but the goals are far from idle. ‘The plan is to educate, inspire and activate people to use less disposable plastic,’ he says. ‘We will use digital platforms to educate people about the environmental, and health, impacts of plastic and then show them how to reduce their own plastic use through hints and tips from people actively doing it.’
Trends, by definition, come and go. Care for our environment is a fundamental that is becoming increasingly important as our population grows
The three-man team, including Anna Walsh ‘who's been living a plastic-free life for the past month’ and an unnamed female associate in Auckland ‘who's been championing plastic-free oceans for years’ will also run local community events such as beach/forest/river cleans to directly remove plastic from the environment.’
This is all well and good, I hear you cry, but what’s this got to do with the on-trade and will it make a blind bit of difference if the biggest culprits don’t change their ways?
‘We are currently talking to bars/restaurants/businesses who are committed to minimising their own plastic use to join the club,’ Etherington-Judge quickly adds. ‘If they agree to the clubs entry criteria, no plastic straws being one of them, then we will use our marketing channels to promote them and they are free to use our material in their marketing. The idea being to link-up individuals who want to reduce their disposable plastic use with businesses who are actively doing the same.’
No More Plastic Club hopes to have over 100 businnesses around the world signed up before the website launch later this year.
When asked if sustainability will continue to dominate headlines or be a passing trend, Etherington-Judge says: ‘I don't believe it's a trend. Trends, by definition, come and go. Care for our environment is a fundamental that is becoming increasingly important as our population grows.’
Already soft-launched on social media to start building awareness, there may well be a launch event on the cards. But don’t expect it quite yet.
‘Given the amount of work for the Healthy Hospo launch event last Monday, I need a little break.’
Even a busy man needs to give himself a break sometimes.