The United Kingdom’s Environment Secretary Michael Gove stated, “Urgent and decisive action is needed to tackle plastic pollution and protect our environment”.
According to the European Commission, Europeans generate 25 million tons of plastic waste, but less than 30% is collected for recycling. The United Kingdom is very active in the promotion of eco-innovation and has implemented a 25 year plan to improve the environment. This plan sets a goal to improve the UK’s air and water quality and to protect the threatened plants, trees, and species of wildlife.
In order to minimize waste, the UK will work towards a target of eliminating avoidable plastic waste by 2042. They are also seeking to eliminate waste crime and illegal waste sites which would prevent the risk of marine plastic pollution. The country also plans to manage chemical exposure by eliminating the use of Polychlorinated Biphenyls, reducing land-based emissions of mercury to air and water by 50%, and substantially increasing the amount of Persistent Organic Pollutants material being destroyed or irreversibly transformed by 2030.
Next April in England, plastic drink stirrers, straws, and plastic-stemmed cotton swabs will be banned following a consultation that found that more than 80% of respondents supported a ban on the distribution and sale of plastic straws, with 90% backing a ban on drinks stirrers and 89% in favor of a ban on cotton swabs. Under the new plans, all packaging on the EU market will be recyclable by 2030 and the consumption of single-use plastic will be reduced and the intentional use of microplastic will be banned. In March 2018, the United Kingdom passed a new plastic packaging tax that will be implemented by April 2022. This tax will encourage producers to use recycled plastic by taxing any packaging that doesn’t have at least 30% recycled content. The UK Secretary who introduced the tax also plans to simplify recycling and trash collection by requiring more clear recycling labels.
The film industry is known for being environmentally conscious. However, it still directly impacts the environment with the use of some production supply products, such as plastics and chemically treated wood fibre products, and can disturb wildlife habitats through increased waste generation. Thomas FX™, based in North Vancouver, British Columbia, combats harmful plastics in the entertainment industry by providing environmentally friendly production supplies such as biodegradable artificial snow and realistic biodegradable volcanic ash.
Special effects products, such as artificial snow, are often made of plastic or polystyrene, which degrade into microplastics, or bleached cellulose, an industrial attic insulator that is slow to degrade. A new analysis in the UK found microplastic pollution in all ten lakes, rivers, and reservoirs that were tested. The River Tame near Manchester was labeled as the most contaminated river tested worldwide with over 1,000 small pieces of plastic found per liter.
Thomas FX is the only company with a truly environmentally-friendly fake snow product. SNO-FX! was invented by Thomas FX, and developed under the close scrutiny of a renowned Bio-Chemical Engineer. This artificial snow is made from high quality food grade ingredients, with the environmental concerns of the film industry in mind. SNO-FX!, like real snow, dissolves in the rain, unlike other “green” artificial snow products made of cellulose. This means far less cost and effort for clean up; cellulose combined with water can turn into a heavy and hard mess that makes disposal challenging, and that ultimately clogs landfill sites. Conversely, SNO-FX! is easily removed and any remaining flakes dissolve with water, reducing costly and time-consuming cleanups. Better yet, when compared side by side, SNO-FX! flakes look whiter and act more like real snow.
“Whether it is the UK, Canada, China or India, movie executives are realizing the environmental impact certain special effects have on the locations,” says John Quee, Chief Executive Officer of Thomas FX Group, Inc. “SNO-FX! was painstakingly researched and to create a product with minimal to no environmental footprint. The fact that it is the artificial snow of choice for top blockbuster movies shows you can have your cake and eat it too.”
The company with over five decades of experience serving the entertainment industry seeks to make an impact by reducing the amount of waste that is produced during film and television production. SNO-FX! has been recognized by the global film and television industry as the highest quality, most realistic and safest artificial snow in the world, and has appeared in Academy Award winning productions such as ‘The Hateful Eight,’ ‘The Revenant,’ and ‘Interstellar’. Thomas FX™ also has an environmentally friendly, non-toxic, non-static artificial ash, BIO ASH, that has appeared in the movies ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ and ‘Shutter Island’. Both BIO ASH and SNO-FX! are approved for use in some of the world’s most environmentally sensitive filming locations.
With the important duty of protecting the planet and the increased ban on plastics, Thomas FX is paving the way for a greener film industry in the United Kingdom and around the world.