Single use plastic still the thing we struggle on and currently, its hottest issue is plastic waste fulfilling our pristine ocean. Since Indonesia claimed as the second largest plastic polluter in the ocean, I think we as Indonesian should do something as small as we can start immediately.
Meanwhile, I found a global movement called “Plastic Free July”, which I thought this would be very nice as a tool to gain the awareness in to the actions.
“Plastic Free July is an award-winning campaign developed from a simple idea in 2011 – to refuse single-use plastic during July. A program initiated by Earth Carer Waste Education Team at Australia’s local government body in Perth, Western Australia. It aims to raise awareness of the amount of single-use plastic waste in our lives by encouraging people to eliminate the use of it during July every year. It focuses on creating awareness of its issues, particularly single-use, recommend alternatives and solutions, and encouraging to shift the habits.”
Exactly, this a global movement, I took it as the moment to deliver valuable messages in more intensive yet casual way. They even have the action picker form to guide us which action we can do this month, so cool! Therefore, this year I tried to initiate the movement among people specifically in urban area, Jakarta, trough online social media. I live here for years and found that in urban area we have the challenges – our lifestyle. This is my very first time held a particular campaign on my social media in certain period.
When it all started
I started by post my Plastic Free July commitment publicly on Instagram story – unfortunately, I didn’t capture it. I mentioned @plasticfreejuly, I put the hastag there #PlasticFreeJuly and told everyone like “Hi, Plastic Free July is coming, a month to refuse the single use plastic”, I added the reason behind “by refusing it in any activity, we try to help our ocean health and entirely our environment by doing little steps this month”, and wrapped them up with, “Let’s do it together, this is not only about eliminating all your plastic use, but how to be wise in single use ones when it’s not really necessary to use”. Those simple statements I put in my first post on June 30th at night, before the first day of July. I also ended my statement by inviting them to join, start the movement and share it on their social media to spread the positive movements!
Some people immediately responded my invitation! How Happy I was, seriously, those first people made my night even my day in the next morning. A sample good case from one of my best friend, Faisal. He was superbly keen to start the movement by himself, he told me that he would join by shared it on his Instagram story, he even added his own rule like: (1) Three times using plastic for maximum, (2) Plastic in medicine box are allowed, (3) Single use plastic before July are still allowed to be used. Well, that was super nice! I thought he was consciously did start the positive changes, step by step and defined where himself when he started. He knows what he can do, he knows how to make a wiser decision on those single use plastic needs.
That’s what I expect for, precisely – we started together. Yay!
The next days, I continued to share the cases with pictures. I put some alternatives, such as bring my own net bag to buy fruits and other food at grocery shop, bring my reusable bottle, glass bottle from home for the famous ice coffee in town, reusable cutleries everywhere and more. I also shared what I cannot avoid, literally, to made people know that I even tried to refuse but somehow, in several conditions we still don’t have any choice on that, and indeed, we should keep improving.
At the end of the month, I got 23 days free from single use plastics! But basically I didn’t count my period days, I still used conventional menstrual pad, which contains plastics. I try to find reusable ones but here, in Jakarta I haven’t found the trustworthy ones – in terms of the materials and hygienic issue. I’m very concern about it just because it’s all about, health! If you ever heard about the menstrual cup, seriously I think also of it a lot, but yeah, I am truly Indonesian woman, I cannot use it until I marry someone – you girls understand me, right? I’ll do share once I get the best alternative.
Still health issue, I was sick for 3 days in the second week of July, my dad got me some medicines and I didn’t aware about the plastics from those pills before. At least I learned, we could get our own medicine box put the paper instructions together with the pill’s strip and put in our own box. I shared about it on my instasotry and my doctor friend, Maya, replied about her efforts on it even in remote area, she gives her patients only the pill’s strip with the paper! I was so happy to hear that. I also got tissues packaging from the previous month and basically, I needed them as well when I was sick while still go to the office.
The other plastics were from food! Exactly, I got some food from my cousin she kindly bought me breakfast I cannot ignore it, other foods from friends. You know, Indonesian like to share with their relatives, friends, and others. That’s the culture. I even ordered tea in my second day of July and I didn’t know it came with plastic packaging! I thought, it was just common tea bag with the paper, lol. So, yeah, I even compromised it very early! – I posted on those stuffs by the way with the lesson learning as well.
So that’s, the point! “It’s really okay to try how many days we can start from.”
I got some friends around that involved in this Plastic Free July movement with me. They voluntarily shared the actions, shared bout their efforts, some tried the whole month and some only some days event. I collected their comments, their stories, some mentioned and share it publicly and some directly just shared to me. Turns out, I got 51 people on the record!
It was completely made my month! Comparing with the previous month when I didn’t make any kind of specific movement, this result just amazing! Some even thought that it was my personal movement, I made it by my own. Well, “No, it is a global movement, I just joined and tried to invite you guys in the movement”, I replied.
Basically, by experiencing plastic free July, I feel like “We can really choose and being wise on our lifestyle – not to choose single use plastic ones.” It is about to make the new positive habit and train it on Plastic Free July. That’s the main message that I would love to deliver from the movement.
You can see the examples of my friends’ shared stories by watching my PechaKucha talk in Betel Nut, Bali, August 29th which organized by Hubud. I talked little bit on this and show the examples in my slide. Well, it haven’t published yet but once it published I’ll update the link.
The love message
Eventually, this kind of efforts, when we do it consistently together and improve it each time, this will direct us to the big positive changes – yes, it won’t happen overnight, we should improve each time. Moreover, I believe that small steps together will go further and get positive impacts.
I remember, I really love this statement which contributes on my belief:
Someone said, “if you want to go quickly, go alone, if you want to go far, go together”, we have to go far quickly, we have to have a change in consciousness, a sense of urgency, a new commitment, a new appreciation for a privilege we have of undertaking this challenge – Former U.S Vice President, Al Gore
Finally, big big thanks to everyone who was in with me: Faisal Nida Keke Kemmy Erzan Dimas Dewi Stella Herdi Rere Ayik Diandra Devina Nita Nadia Nazua Tika Nindy Fetti Aca Marsya Kariz Amy Fraidee Sarah Poe Dithi Inge Maya Rifka Ms.Putri Sizi Ayu Anggy Irin Farah Leo Dila Ipul Yanda Dina Didi Vall Kesha Naazneen Bagus Raditya Nanas Dhewy Suci