#BreakFreeFromPlastic: Local Greenpeace group takes to the web to fight for the environment

2018-04-23 09:30 - Gabi Zietsman
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Person carrying groceries in a plastic bag.

Single-use plastic is choking our environment (Photo: iStock)

Cape Town - The anti-plastic movement is gaining steam, and local South Africans are taking on restaurant chains to stop their use of single-use plastic, through new campaign platform Green Peace Extra.

The website is locally driven and gives people the opportunity to start petitions for environmentally-related movements where public sentiment can be used to convince a key role player to change their ways or fight for the rights of planet Earth.

SEE: #ShockWildlifeTruth: Ocean plastics raise risk of coral reef disease

The #BreakFreeFromPlastic campaign is made up of various smaller local campaigns where independent restaurants and franchises like Ocean Basket, Wimpy, and Nando's are urged to drop their use of single-use plastics like straws, bags, containers, cups and bottles. 

It was jump-started by the Durban branch of Greenpeace Africa, but now includes campaigns from Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pringle Bay and even Nairobi in Kenya. 

"We’re producing more and more throwaway plastic, which we don’t really need. Recycling schemes are failing to keep up. Plastic pollution is transforming our seas into the biggest waste dump in the world," says the campaign on their profile. 

"The only way to break free from plastic pollution is for corporations to stop making single-use plastic in the first place. For years, we have been told that recycling and better waste management are the answers. But we know that over 90% of plastic has not been recycled," says Greenpeace on their global campaign.

Some of the targeted businesses have been praised for their reduction of some items - like Ocean Basket's removal of straws from their restaurants - but the campaigns ask that more be done to get rid of plastic from our oceans and other environments.

ALSO SEE: #StopSucking: SA restaurants say 'No to straws!'

Want to get involved or start your own eco campaign?

  • You don't need to be an expert; just get the ball rolling and get as many people on board as possible through word-of-mouth and social media.
  • You can campaign for anything that will improve your community, school or the planet, as long as it's not defamatory, discriminatory or illegal.
  • The important part is to have an end-goal for your campaign - once you reach your goal you need to use that data to inform, sway or make someone take notice of a local or global issue. Petitions are a snapshot of public opinion and can help sway the decision-making of key role players.

SEE: New plastic gobbling drone pilot project to see 'a plastic-free V&A Waterfront'

You can also take inspiration from these English shoppers campaigning for the end of single-use plastic in their local grocery store: