Eating plastic for lunch

Richard Branson and Drew Barrymore talking about Grove Collaborative and eliminating plastics
Grove Collaborative
A close up of Richard Branson smiling, looking at the camera
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 28 July 2022

As you pour milk in your tea, tuck into your fish and chips or even drink a beer – did you know that you could be consuming plastic? 

I sat down with the wonderful Drew Barrymore to talk about how frightening it is that the average person will consume 44lb (20kg) of plastic over the course of their lives. Microplastics are everywhere – in the ocean, in our food and as a result, in our bodies. 

But what can we do about it? 

Eating plastic for lunch with Drew Barrymore

While this is a scary thought, I’m ever the optimist and it’s positive to see businesses looking at ways to do things differently. At Virgin, we’re proud to invest in exciting companies that are having a positive impact on the planet, from renewable energy to companies tackling the world’s plastic problem. 

It’s why we’ve invested in Grove Collaborative, a company that specialises in natural home, beauty and personal care products – and has a mission to be plastic free by 2025. I’m thrilled to welcome Drew Barrymore to the Grove Collaborative team as Global Brand and Sustainability Advocate. Grove is leading the way in showing how brands can diversify and innovate to help consumers with their plastic consumption.

Richard Branson chatting to Drew Barrymore and the CEO of Grove Collaborative
Kami White

It was no surprise to read in Grove’s research that one in four Americans feel they are making no difference when they see the effects of the plastic crisis, with a further quarter of US respondents feeling that we have already gone too far and done too much damage to the planet.

As with all big issues we face, if we all make steps in the right direction it can add up to a big change. We may be at the beginning of the journey – but that isn’t a good enough reason not to get going. We’re also looking at ways we can tackle the plastic problem across our Virgin companies. There is no single-use plastic used onboard our cruise line, Virgin Voyages, and we’ve removed nearly 32 tonnes of plastic each year from Virgin Atlantic by refreshing amenity kits, swapping plastic stirrers for bamboo ones and removing plastic bags from headsets. Virgin Megastore has removed all plastic bags from stores and Virgin Mobile UAE has swapped all sims to biodegradable ones. 

We are always looking at ways to reduce our plastic consumption and if we all do this together, small steps can add up to big changes in direction. 

Virgin Red members in America will soon be able to earn Virgin Points on the Grove Collaborative products they purchase – meaning they’re rewarded for doing the right thing in the fight against the plastic crisis.