Girlguiding launches #PlasticPromise

Almost half a million Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, Rangers and volunteers across the UK are coming together to tackle plastic pollution – and they’re calling on the nation to make a #PlasticPromise

  • Girls are making a #PlasticPromise to reduce single-use plastic - and urge their family, friends, the public, businesses and politicians to join them
  • New Girlguiding research reveals 88% of girls and young women aged 7-21 say it’s urgent we all do more to protect the environment
  • 'World leaders and big industry need to treat the future of our children and our planet with the respect they deserve’ – Liz Bonnin
  • Girls are taking part in a week of action on plastic pollution, from 30 September to 6 October
  • ‘Plastic waste is choking our planet and we should stop it’ – Brownie, age 7
  • Girls want politicians to listen to their voices on the environment
  • 86% of girls and young women aged 11-21 say young people should be more involved in conversations with decision-makers about tackling environmental issues

#PlasticPromise, the biggest ever girl-led campaign to tackle plastic pollution, has been launched by Girlguiding. The campaign is supported by science and wildlife presenter Liz Bonnin.

An estimated 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are thrown away in the UK every year. That’s almost 5,000 a minute, or 7 million per day. Around 15 million plastic bottles are littered, landfilled or incinerated every day.

In response, Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers from across the UK are joining forces and asking their friends, family, politicians and the public to join them and make a #PlasticPromise, committing to a simple but meaningful lifestyle change to help reduce single-use plastic.

Anyone can make a #PlasticPromise by visiting There are five promises to choose from:

  1. Start using a reusable water bottle
  2. Start using an alternative to disposable cutlery
  3. Start using a reusable box or reusable wrapping instead of clingfilm
  4. Start using a reusable coffee cup
  5. Stand up and speak out about cutting plastic waste - and make big brands listen

Once a promise has been made, people will be rewarded with a digital #PlasticPromise badge.

The #PlasticPromise campaign and week of action on plastic pollution builds on the launch of Girlguiding’s Future Girl manifesto. Future Girl is based on 76,000 girls and young women sharing the issues that matter most to them. Taking action to protect the planet is one of their top five issues - with plastic pollution named as one of the biggest threats to their future.

Liz Bonnin said:

We all need to take action to create the change our planet needs. Today, thousands of girls all over the UK are making their #PlasticPromise, leading by example and inspiring others to be part of the solution too. I am joining forces with these powerful young women to say to those who can enforce change where it matters most: treat the future of our children and our planet with the respect they deserve. These girls and young women want you to act now, for their future. They are here to make their voices heard - and you must listen, before it's too late.

Emma Dixon, 19, a member of Girlguiding’s Advocate Panel, said:

The scale of plastic pollution is terrifying and we must act fast. The planet is dying in front of our eyes. Greta Thunberg has inspired millions of young people with the school climate strikes. The strikes and #PlasticPromise show young people are determined to make a difference. We’re using our voices and together, we’re unstoppable. But we need those in power to act now. It’s inspiring to be part of this global community of young people. I’m one of thousands of people making a #PlasticPromise. Will you join us?

Calling on the government to involve girls’ voices in policy decisions

New research from Girlguiding’s 2019 Girls’ Attitudes Survey also found that 86% of girls and young women aged 11-21 say young people should be more involved in conversations with decision-makers about tackling environmental issues. Girlguiding is supporting girls to make sure the people in charge listen to their views, calling on the UK government to involve children and young people in the development of its plans for the deposit return scheme.

Over three-quarters (76%) of girls and young women aged 7-21 say it’s a good idea to give people money back when they return plastic bottles to shops, to encourage more people to recycle. During the week of action, girls are being encouraged to write to their MPs and MSPs, urging them to make a #PlasticPromise and asking them to go on social media and share how they are representing young people’s voices.

Angela Salt, Girlguiding CEO, said:

Plastic pollution is a defining issue of our time. It has mobilised girls and young women in Girlguiding because they’re worried about their future. If each of girls and volunteers in Girlguiding makes a #PlasticPromise - nearly half a million people - we can make a big impact as a powerful force for change. Girlguiding is here to support girls to make a difference for their future.

Other week of action on plastic pollution activities

Over 100,000 girls will take part in a plastic-themed activity at their Girlguiding group meetings. They will learn more about plastic and the environment and will use their creativity to show why protecting the planet matters. Girls will use plastic waste to create sculptures of animals they want to protect from plastic pollution. Groups can then share photos of their sculptures, creating an online eco-park to show the harm that is being caused to animals by plastic.

Across the UK, Girlguiding members have already been taking action against plastic pollution too. Brownies, and sisters, Ella and Caitlin, aged 8 and 10, started a petition to ask McDonald’s and Burger King to stop giving away plastic toys. They celebrated a big success recently when Burger King announced they would no longer include plastic toys in children’s meals.

Ella and Caitlin said:

Single-use plastic is not good for the environment. The plastic ends up in the oceans or gets burnt or put in landfill. It's much better to have things that can be used again or are biodegradable.

Make your #PlasticPromise by visiting  and join the conversation on social media and share your #PlasticPromise with us @Girlguiding.