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Over 1M People Join Greenpeace Call to Corporates to #BreakFreeFromPlastic

Image credit: George Nikitin / Greenpeace

Around the globe, over one million individuals have signed petitions, taken to stores and restaurants, and posted photos of ridiculous packaging on social media to call out corporations for their massive single-use plastic footprints. Ahead of Earth Day, Greenpeace is urging individuals worldwide to contribute to a “Million Acts of Blue” — escalating actions that push businesses to reduce their reliance on single-use plastics — as part of the #BreakFreeFromPlastic movement.

A man surrounded by empty plastic bottles, as if calmly drowning.
Click to enlarge. A visualization of people’s dependence on plastic in their daily lives from a studio shoot in Mexico. | Image © Daniel Guevara / Greenpeace

“We are reaching a tipping point on single-use plastics, and it is time for any corporation that cares about a healthy planet to go beyond recycling alone. Throwaway plastics continue to pour into our oceans, our waterways, and our communities at an alarming rate,” said Graham Forbes, a Plastics Campaigner at Greenpeace USA.

“This Earth Day, it is time to confront the reality that we cannot simply recycle our way out of this mess. We must address the corporate addiction to single-use plastics and move in a better direction.”

Greenpeace has created a seven-part Million Acts of Blue Toolkit detailing ways people can learn more about the issue of plastic pollution, raise awareness such as by organizing a film screening, write an effective letter to the editor of their local newspaper, influence their local grocer or a major supermarket chain, influence restaurants, cafes or fast food chains, lobby elected officials for a ban on single-use plastics, start a Plastic-Free Future community group, and organize community clean-ups and brand audits. #BreakFreeFromPlastic has developed a complementary Brand Audit Toolkit.

Throughout the month of April, Greenpeace and other activists around the world have taken action to take the lead in rejecting single-use plastics. Activities included:

Beach art of a dolphin swimming amidst plastic.
Click to enlarge. A 35 metre sand etching at Royan, near Bordeaux in France by beach artist Jehan-Benjamin Tarain and commissioned by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB). | Image credit: J.Ben / EEB
  • Artists creating massive works of beach art throughout Europe calling attention to the issue of ocean plastic pollution.
  • Greenpeace activists deployed two signs near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco that read “Break Free From Plastic” and “Stop Corporate Plastic Pollution,” featuring logos of seven companies with massive plastic footprints.
  • Activists installed three billboards in Russia calling on the country’s largest retailer, X5 Retail Group, to act on single-use plastic bags.
  • Activists in Mexico collected and photographed packaging from seven of the world’s largest companies.
  • Also in Mexico, plastic artist Francisco Javier Calvillo made a sand sculpture in Veracruz of a giant turtle with a message for corporations.
  • In partnership with Greenpeace, a local artist collective in the Philippines staged the ECOlta Fair and Plastic-Free party, which engaged individuals who aim to live free from plastic or reduce their waste.
  • Greenpeace Africa is working with volunteers in South Africa, Senegal, Cameroon and Kenya, to conduct beach and town cleanups and brand audits to identify the companies responsible for local plastic pollution.
  • As part of a movement called #DesnudalaFruta, local groups in Spain are visiting retailers to demand solutions and educate consumers on the amount of plastic packaging with their products.

It is clear that Greenpeace and the other organizations behind #BreakFreeFromPlastic not only want to change consumer behavior, but also increase the pressure on companies to take more responsibility for plastics. As Global Coordinator for #BreakFreeFromPlastic Von Hernandez put it, “Increasing public revulsion over single-use plastics should be seen by policy makers and regulators as a sign that citizens want better protection from their leaders against the continuing onslaughts of an industry committed to pursuing bigger profit margins at the expense of a planet already drowning in plastic.”

Launched in 2006, Sustainable Brands has become a global learning, collaboration, and commerce community of forward-thinking business and brand strategy, marketing, innovation and sustainability professionals who are leading the way to a better future. We recognize that brands today have… [Read more about Sustainable Brands]

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