Giant plastic sculpture appears in Birmingham to highlight over 3000 items of the city’s laundry plastic ending up as waste each day


Posted 12 months ago

●      Sculpture created by laundry challenger brand, smol, in collaboration with Midlands eco-artist, Sarah Turner

●      Piece made from 3229* pieces of laundry plastic representing the amount not recycled and ending up as waste from Birmingham every single day

●      The campaign will support the charity, Surfers against Sewage, who are tackling Birmingham’s plastic waste with their Plastic Free Communities initiative.

●      Follows recent news that Birmingham has some of the worst recycling rates in the UK**

Birmingham, 19th May: A huge sculpture titled ‘Sick of Plastic’, featuring a washing machine ‘vomiting’ thousands of pieces of laundry plastic, has been revealed in Birmingham’s Centenary Square to bring attention to the daily amount that ends up unrecycled, and incinerated or in landfill, from Birmingham’s households.

Midlands eco-artist, Sarah Turner, to place a spotlight on the ‘invisible’ issue of the environmental impact of plastic from the laundry industry.

The sculpture has been commissioned by smol, in its ambition to revolutionise the laundry industry by offering Birmingham plastic-free alternatives which make a big difference to the environment.

Made from 3,229* pieces of recycled laundry plastic – representing the amount of unrecycled laundry plastic which ends up in landfill or incinerated every day in Birmingham alone –  the sculpture is the brainchild of smol, in collaboration with Midlands artist, Sarah Turner, renowned for her work using waste materials.

Midlands eco-artist, Sarah Turner, to place a spotlight on the ‘invisible’ issue of the environmental impact of plastic from the laundry industry.

The UK laundry industry is responsible for sales of 110 million*** plastic laundry packs each year, many of which use needless plastic despite alternatives being available. And with just 12% of the UK’s plastic reported to be recycled**** , something has to change; Birmingham was recently revealed as one of the nation’s worst cities for recycling** so it’s not surprising that smol has found that a huge 1.19 million plastic laundry packs end up as waste each year from Birmingham alone. The city’s recycling system has come under fire in recent weeks with the council’s decision to continue using a waste incinerator despite targets set to improve recycling rates not being met.

The Sick of Plastic sculpture will also support the charity, Surfers Against Sewage to tackle plastic waste in Birmingham by donating £5,000 to support the charity’s Plastic-Free Communities work in the city: a scheme which supports individuals, community leaders and businesses in Birmingham to reduce avoidable plastic.

The arresting sculpture uses the very same washing machine which locals may recognise from smol’s new Midlands TV advert; Sick of Plastic. smol has launched the campaign to call on the public to join its revolution by switching to sustainable alternatives, with smol having unveiled the UK’s first plastic-free laundry and dishwasher packs in 2020.

The sculpture will be displayed in front of The Library of Birmingham in the city center’s Centenary Square on the 19th of May, from 10am-6pm.

Eco artist, Sarah Turner, said: “I’m delighted to collaborate with smol, whose values and ethics align with my own- having utilised materials which are causing the most environmental damage in my work. Together, we want to draw attention to the laundry plastic problem and inspire the public to make a small change in their day to day, to make a positive impact.”

Hilary Strong, CMO of smol said: “People are well aware of the need to reduce their plastic waste, but few dwell on laundry – one of those things that we all have to buy and use, and a huge generator of single-use plastic waste. At smol, we’re proud of pioneering the UK’s first 100% plastic-free laundry capsule packaging; if the people of Birmingham alone made the switch to plastic-free, we’d prevent over 1 million plastic laundry packs ending up in landfill every single year. The creation of this sculpture is a bold statement about our commitment to the environment and our belief that with just small changes like switching brand, we can all make a difference. We hope that it will inspire others to join us in the fight against plastic waste.’’

Tabitha McCormick, Corporate Partnerships Officer of Surfers Against Sewage said: “We too are Sick of Plastic and are thrilled to endorse this campaign. It’s great to see the issue of laundry plastic being highlighted as it supports one of our campaigning goals – to put an end to plastic pollution. We’re grateful to receive a donation from smol to create positive action on the issue; our Plastic Free Communities programme helps communities across the UK, including in Birmingham, to tackle plastic pollution at the source.

smol is giving away 100 plastic-free smol laundry packs to the people of Birmingham from 12pm, to give away to the first 100 people that find the smol team and say “I’m sick of plastic!”. For those who don’t get a free laundry pack, smol is offering an exclusive discount code. Enter SICKOFPLASTIC50 when you sign up for your free trial to get 50% off your first full laundry pack. T&Cs: Offer valid until end of June, for the first 5000 new customers.

For more information about the campaign, visit: