Why normalise single use plastic?

I was watching a video on YouTube recently when an ad started playing. You know, those mildly irritating ads that pop up from time to time. But this one irritated me more than usual.

It featured Sadie, the editor of ‘Hip & Healthy’, going about her daily life in what she conceived to be a healthy way. Of course, the ad was made by Sensodyne and highlighted the fact that her healthy habits, which include drinking freshly squeezed orange juice, could be having a ‘negative impact’ on her teeth. All very possible.

However, halfway through this ad, our trendy protagonist is seen drinking her orange juice from a single use plastic container using a plastic straw. Sharp intake of breath.

Sensodyne ad

My immediate thought was that this image is normalising the use of single use plastic. If such a health-aware lady thinks nothing of it, why should anyone else?

Surely, it is time for adverts like this to promote the use of reusable containers. No-one in an ad should be seen holding a plastic cup or using a plastic straw – and the same rule should apply to single use plastic carrier bags.

Okay, for the moment these products are still out there and there’s not a lot we can do about all existing ads and TV programmes that show them being used. But today’s programme makers and advertisers should make a stand, shouldn’t they? Being cynical for a moment, reducing our use of plastics is a bandwagon they should be jumping on. There’s money to be made there, Mr (or Ms) Advertiser!


When you look more closely into it, there’s so much that could easily be changed to make single use plastic less normal. For example, the plastic soda cup with plastic straw emoji which was only introduced in 2017 – how short-sighted is that? (Change.org has a petition out to ban it).

Over to you: I was shocked by the Sensodyne ad but you can judge for yourself whether you agree that Sadie should be thinking a little bit more not just about her own teeth and health, but the health of the planet.

Click here to see the ad.

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