HM King Charles III and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan with the Smile Plastics pedestal. Image credit: Jemma Watts
HM King Charles III and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan with the Smile Plastics pedestal. Image credit: Jemma Watts

This week, we combined two of our great loves: collaboration and transformation, in a very exciting project, with a royal twist.

We’ve been working with the environmental organisation Climate Action, the team behind the Climate Innovation Forum - the flagship event at London’s Climate Action Week. For this, we’ve re-imagined ocean plastics found during beach cleans at our local Gower Peninsula, into a beautiful, recycled plastic pedestal to support a poignant action which was carried out by HM King Charles III – the activation of a huge digital climate clock.

The forum, which is took place on 28 June 2023, sought to “harness the power of London for Global climate action.” As part of the packed programme, HM King Charles III hosted a private round table for guests including the UK Minister for Net Zero, Graham Stuart; the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan; and AstraZeneca CEO, Pascal Soriot.

Ocean Plastic material - pre-pressing. Showcasing locally collected marine litter

Following the discussion, HM King Charles III publicly activated the giant 5m x 2m digital climate clock – which in turn set off 150 clocks in prime outdoor spots across the UK, including London’s Piccadilly Circus. The clocks signify a countdown of 6 years, 24 days, 1 hour and 19 minutes – the time we have left to limit global warming to 1.5°C. The call to action is clear: “act today, save tomorrow”. And mirroring this sentiment, our ocean plastic pedestal, which held the button pressed by HM King Charles III, sat pride of place – a visual representation of just one way that we can save natural resources in favour of using what we already have in abundance on our doorsteps.

The would-be waste material for the ocean plastic pedestal was collected during our Ocean Plastic to Fantastic beach cleans project, which we ran in partnership with CWM Environmental and Surfability UK. This formed part of the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Grant Scheme from WCVA funded by Welsh Government (LDTgrants), in our local AONB spots. Much of the Gower was, in fact, the first area in the UK to be designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and so our preservation of it holds extra importance to our community.

Ocean Plastic material - post-pressing. Showcasing encapsulated marine litter

The collected material is pressed and encapsulated into PET plastic sheets, which will go on to be used in many different capacities. And in true Smile style, the panels will then be reimagined, living another life afterwards. And then another. And another.

Are you heading to Climate Action Week? Find the full events programme here. And if you spot some Smile while you’re there, give us a shout out on social media!