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Greenpeace: Wasteminster: A Downing Street Disaster by Studio Birthplace

Client: Greenpeace
Date: May 2021
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Created by humanitarian and ecological specialists Studio Birthplace Wasteminster holds nothing back in its criticisms of prime minister Boris Johnson, who is portrayed as a floundering caricature in front of the world's media while pontificating on the issue.

As he speaks a rain of empty drinks cartons, packaging and other plastic detritus rains down upon him at No 10 Downing Street while an increasingly discombobulated Johnson sees his Churchillian vowels swallowed by his jowls.

Amid all this, the torrent of plastic merely accelerates, trapping a curtain-twitching Michael Gove and even endangering Larry the cat with only a pair of pigeons having any form of escape from the avalanche of waste.

The advert concludes with a slow pan back above Westminster to illustrate the full extent of the plastic mountain, overlaid with the words: "This is the actual amount of plastic waste the UK dumps on other countries every single day."

The comedic campaign then adopts a more somber tone as it segues to an unidentified overseas landfill site where plastic waste ostensibly earmarked for recycling is routinely dumped and burned with concomitant consequences for the environment.

Directors Sil & Jorik, at Studio Birthplace, said “We didn’t want to put words into Boris’s mouth so we went through hours of interviews and speeches by Boris and the government where plastic pollution and the environment were discussed and quotes were extracted. All statements in the film were made by Boris and the government.”

Sam Chetan-Welsh, political campaigner at Greenpeace, adds: “The plastic we carefully wash and sort for recycling is being shipped off to other countries where it overwhelms their waste systems and much of it ends up illegally dumped or burnt, poisoning local people and polluting oceans and rivers.

"The government could put a stop to this but so far Boris Johnson is only offering half measures. We need a complete ban on all plastic waste exports and legislation to make UK companies reduce the amount of plastic they produce in the first place.”

The campaign coincides with polling conducted by YouGov which found that 86% of the British public are concerned about the volume of plastic waste generated by the UK, with 81% wishing that the government did more to tackle the issue - including 62% who support a ban on the export of plastic waste.