Plastic consumption is putting humans and earth at risk but this startup, Post Plastic Generation, is not keeping quiet about it
Plastic consumption and waste management of such plastic has been a major global issue.
According to Ecology Center, we generate “more plastic trash than ever, and very little of it gets recycled. Plastics and their byproducts are littering our cities, oceans, and waterways, and contributing to health problems in humans and animals.”
Much more than plastic generation is our attitude towards how it is used and how this waste is managed in such a way that it doesn’t become a problem to humans and other animals who share this wonderful planet with us.
This week, our team reached out to the amazing team at Post Plastic Generation. PPG, for shorts, focuses of driving behavioral change in the way young people use plastic and finding sustainable alternatives mutually beneficial to their health and the earth.
In this piece, learn more about PPG; the vision behind the brand, their achievement and challenges.
The Vision behind Post Plastic Generation
Our vision is to contribute to a reduction of plastic consumption and to raise awareness among young people about their individual consumption behaviour. We believe in the necessity of change at both an individual and larger-scale level, in order to achieve lasting changes in both the production and consumption habits. Thereby we use activism to grab attention and offer workshops to provide solutions for an alternative behaviour. The activism is often also directly aimed at the producers, for instance we took part in a protest against Unilever and we did a “plastic-attack” on Albert Heijn (a Dutch supermarket chain). The latter refers to doing your groceries but leaving all the unnecessary packaging behind in order to put pressure on the producer.
How Post Plastic Generation
We started off as a student initiative mainly focusing on the university campus where we tried to grasp students’ attention regarding their individual consumption behaviours. We organised events such as Zero Waste Challenges and offered different workshops on how to replace your daily products with sustainable alternatives. More and more people became interested in our initiative and the number of volunteers and participants constantly rose. We slowly expanded our focus on the city and organised collective clean ups to make people aware of the hidden plastic in the city. We planned different protests such as a Fridays for Future protest and co-hosted the climate march.
Achievements PPG most proud about
In a café on campus we achieved the implementation of a cup-sharing system. That means that instead of disposable cups, you receive a reusable cup for a 1-euro deposit and consequently avoid the usage of non-recyclable disposable cups. Through the system the staggering number of 40.000 disposable cups is reduced per year! However, one of our greatest achievements is that so many people are active now. Of course, people are inspired by many great initiatives, but we believe that we can influence positive change in our own circle of friends and family.
Challenges faced and still facing
One issue that we have faced and still face is bureaucracy. When we come up with an idea or a project such as implementing a cup sharing program, we just want to implement it but it’s not so simple. We have to ask for permission and convince many people and it’s a slow process especially when people do not believe in the issue as passionately as we do. This can sometimes affect our motivation and determination to initiate the project.
Another issue we face is funding. Our university gave us a small budget at the beginning but since then we have tried to self-sustain our budget by selling bags and holding zero-waste workshops. But initiating projects and events cost money which we do not have. Finally, it is sometimes difficult to balance the workload of our study with staying actively engaged in the Post Plastic Generation, especially during exam weeks.
Expanding PPG vision beyond the current location, especially the ones that have very little or no access to technology and quality education.
Talking about these issues is the most important thing. Many people are inspired by motivated people who fight for the things they believe in. Spreading a positive message and telling people about alternatives or compliment their achievements motivates people far more than criticizing their bad actions. Furthermore, a great message can be spread by living the example. We often see this when we organise our clean-up and plogging events in the city. People come up to us and tell us how great they think our action is. We believe that by showing others an environmentally respectful behaviour they start to think about their own behaviour. Therefore, we believe that talking to people and showing them how change is possible does not require technology or a higher education.
Nonetheless, it remains hard to reach people outside of our localities, but we hope to contribute via our actions and social media presence to the general growth and media awareness on the issue of plastic pollution and the climate crisis in general.