We know that change starts with the individual, that collectively, when positive action occurs, profound shifts are created.
Our Plastic Free Places program focuses on the role that businesses play in creating change around single-use plastics in communities, but what about the role of the individual?
Within each of us there is the powerful ability to help shape how businesses operate.
Remember what Margaret Meade said: ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”
So if you’re reading this and are feeling inspired to actively engage in your local plastic-free movement, then here are some actions that you can take to start supporting the cause, today.
Like it or not, social media reigns supreme these days. For all of its flaws it can also be a wonderful tool for inspiring action and using a public platform for good.
Posting photos on social media of single-use items such as coffee cups or plastic water bottles, is detrimental to the movement away from a single-use society. Such photos proliferate the use of these items by normalising that they are OK.
On the contrary, posting photos that highlight the use of reusables suggests to the audience that this individual cares, that they are aware of current issues and are willing to make personal changes for the greater good.
People with significant social media profiles are of particular interest - when they share environmentally positive imagery, there are positive flow on effects to those absorbing what they’re seeing from those that they look up to or are inspired by.
Share your journey on social media
Are you someone that shops at the bulk food store, supports the growers market and wouldn’t be caught dead with a single-use coffee cup in hand? Do you frequent local cafes and restaurants due to their ethos?
If you believe you fit this mould then firstly, well done, the world needs more people like you. Secondly would you consider sharing your journey on social media? It could be as simple as posting a story of your plastic-free pantry, tagging your favourite business who supports reusables and reduces plastic and waste, or you could share posts of people and businesses with whom you resonate.
The thing is, you never know who is watching from the fence, there are most likely people out there in your network who are inspired by YOU but who are overwhelmed about knowing where to start with their plastic-free journey.
Support businesses who are taking action on plastic
For some businesses, taking action on plastic is a huge move. Plastic is cheap, accessible and unfortunately incredibly versatile. For business owners it ticks many boxes, until it doesn’t and the awareness of just how toxic and detrimental plastic really is overrides its conveniences.
By supporting businesses who are taking steps to reduce their plastic footprint, you are supporting the movement away from a single-use society. Be sure to frequent these venues and let them know that you are grateful for all that they are doing.
If you live within one of our Plastic Free Places communities, you can access our directories to find businesses who have already begun their plastic free journey.
And if your favourite cafe is not a member of ours – maybe they are not aware of our program! Let them know that we are here to help, they can join us for free. We can be a wonderful tool to assist businesses navigate the complexities of the packaging industry.
By being a member, they can also be assured that they are complying with state plastic bans that are now in place, or are emerging, in the majority of states where our programs are located.
If you’re located outside one of our communities, your voice is equally as important. If you happen to notice that a cafe is doing great things, same goes, be sure to let them know. You can also direct them to our resources page where we have heaps of guides to help assist them on their way.
Write to your local councillors
This can be a really strong action to take when looking to assist the plastic-free movement. Your local councillor is there to represent you - writing to them about changes you would like to see is an excellent way to highlight how council can be involved - they can work towards enforcing local plastic bans, be positive influencers, provide resources to assist businesses and engage the community on educational aspects. It’s even better if you can get some friends involved – the more that voice their concerns, the more powerful the statement!
Overall, don’t be afraid to speak up and challenge the current single-use society narrative. If you’re feeling fed up with how things are, that is powerful and is how change is created.