Technological watch

Adventures in paddle-boarding: 'Hudson Project' documentary draws attention to plastics pollution

On Sept. 20, if you’re a member of the media and are in New York City, you can go to the Core Club in Manhattan to see a pre-screening of a new 11-minute documentary, The Hudson Project, followed by a panel discussion, from 5:30 to 8 pm. The documentary was created by Lizzie Carr, founder of Plastic Patrol, and it follows the “highs and lows” of her 170-mile paddle-boarding expedition along the Hudson River to draw attention to plastic pollution in America. Carr is on a mission to “eradicate single-use plastic from the natural environment,” said the media advisory. 

Following the film screening, a panel discussion will take place featuring Carr and Anantshree Chaturvedi, Vice-Chairman and CEO of FlexFilms International, the film manufacturing arm of Uflex Ltd. (Noida, India). The event culminates with the unveiling of a new global initiative from Uflex designed to “make the company part of a solution to keep plastic in the economy and out of the environment.” 

An environmental activist, adventurer, author and founder of the non-profit organization Plastic Patrol, Carr is dedicated to exploring the globe on paddle-boarding adventures and using her journeys to capture important data to educate the public on environmental issues.

The Hudson Project “brings together an environmentally conscious firm that creates biodegradable and recyclable plastic with an activist committed to cleaning up discarded plastic,” according to the media advisory. “Both entities share the common goal of creating a world free from plastic waste.”  

I’m actually on board with Carr’s mission, which is more in line with the plastics industry’s mission: To eradicate single-use plastic from the natural environment, not to eradicate single-use plastic! Too many anti-plastic people just want to eliminate plastic from the face of the earth, throwing out the baby with the bath water. Carr wants to eliminate single-use plastic from the environment, which is an admirable goal. 

Having the support of a global plastics manufacturer lends credibility to her idea and demystifies “both sides of the plastic pollution problem and throws light on what we do after the plastic is collected, and explores ways to solve the single-use plastic crisis,”  said the media advisory.

Chaturvedi has been with the organization for almost a decade, working from the ground up in every unit of UFlex. He learned the trade both domestically and internationally as a trainee and apprentice in India, Mexico, Poland, Egypt, Dubai and in the United States. Chaturvedi spearheaded the expansion of UFlex in the United States, and currently heads the NAFTA region for the films business. He is responsible for global product stability, R&D and new product development, HR protocols, and serves as Chief Cultural Officer for all standards of operation at UFlex and its subsidiaries globally. He graduated from the prestigious Babson College with a triple major in finance, global strategic management and economics. 

UFlex is one of the largest polymer companies in the world and India’s largest multinational flexible packaging materials and solutions provider. Founded in 1985, UFlex has state-of-the-art packaging facilities at multiple locations in India with installed capacity of around 1,35,000 tonnes per annum; it operates packaging film manufacturing facilities in India, United Arab Emirates, Mexico, Egypt, Poland and the United States. The company recently won Dow’s 2018 awards for packaging innovation and sustainability. 

Plastic Patrol, founded by Carr in 2016, is a global movement that started as a mission to fight plastic pollution on inland waterways and to clean up the planet. Its mission is to make sure rubbish stays out of nature. Plastic Patrol has grown rapidly and organically throughout the world, and operates across the United Kingdom, Europe and United States through a team of recognized partners delivering clean ups and a global army of volunteers.  

In the last two years, Plastic Patrol has spearheaded more than 130 clean ups, reaching thousands of people and removing more than 280 tonnes of trash from the natural environment. The movement runs free clean ups with a difference—litter picking while trying a new activity and collecting valuable data on rubbish. Litter picking must be combined with data collection to create lasting, evidence-based change, said the organization.

Carr finds more than just plastic trash, of course, but plastic has the bull’s-eye because it is lightweight and floats, whereas heavier materials sink to the bottom of rivers, streams, lakes and oceans, where they are not seen and, therefore, not talked about.

The best part about Carr’s efforts, however, and the assistance UFlex provides is educating people on what to do with plastic waste; perhaps that will make them think about all the other forms of waste they throw into the environment.  We in the plastics industry need all the help we can get from people who see that the real need isn’t to eradicate plastics, but to eliminate plastic waste from the environment. That’s the highest and best good for the industry and the Earth.

Publication date: 12/09/2019

Plastics Today


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.