Is Instagram leading the war against plastic?
“There are 500 times more pieces of microplastic in the sea than there are stars in our galaxy, and by 2050 it is estimated there will be more plastic than fish.”
The Plastic Tide is growing by 8 million metric tonnes a year and the amount will only increase as more plastic is produced by companies and used by consumers. This causes irreparable damage to our planet, health and food chain and is described as a global crisis.
Instagram is home to numerous anti-plastic campaigns, litter free movements and zero waste influencers. With photos and videos posted worldwide including polluted beaches and harmed animals, people now are thinking twice before paying 5 pence for a bag at the supermarket or drinking from plastic straws.
The United Nations #BeatPlasticPollution tag heightened in popularity and is even compared to the Ice Bucket challenge. Celebrities including model Gisele Bündchen, ex-Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger and actor Tom Felton have publicly committed to eliminating single-use plastic (such as plastic bags and disposable coffee cups) and instead to use sustainable alternatives.
Some influencers have gone beyond promoting daily sustainability swaps and have created innovative solutions to reduce waste. Zanna Van Dijk is involved in launching the UK’s first premium swimwear line made from regenerated ocean plastic: ‘Stay Wild Swim’, Max La Manna travels worldwide to promote Zero Waste Cooking and Lauren Singer opened a ‘Package Free Shop’ after gaining publicity on her Zero Waste lifestyle.
The plastic free movement has even encouraged companies to rethink their environmental impact. Adidas has introduced trainers made out of recycled ocean plastic, Evian is going carbon neutral and plastic free with a new zero-carbon bottling plant and Starbucks will replace straws with recyclable plastic lids for all cold beverages.
But that’s not all. Instagram and its influencers have such a strong footing that countries are even developing new policies and campaigns. Singapore’s Ministry for the Environment and Water Resources paid 28 micro-influencers for a three-month marketing campaign. Also, in Vancouver, Canada, there will be a ban on the distribution of foam cups and takeout containers, and will come into effect on June 1, 2019.
So, with influencers, brands, companies and countries adopting more sustainable solutions, what are you doing to make a difference?