2018 has been an incredible year for public awareness of the environmental issues surrounding plastic pollution and the prevalence of single-use plastic products in our society. The Two Oceans Aquarium’s Environmental Campaigner Hayley McLellan has taken our environmental message to 75 different organisations during 2018, and some of these engagements are promising spectacular results which we feel is moving us closer to a more responsible and sustainable way of life. Take a look at our highlights of 2018:
Six Cape Town schools commit to going plastic shopping bag-free
Six local schools took the plunge in 2018 and fully committed to becoming plastic shopping bag-free zones. These schools were Wynberg Girls' High School, The Grove Primary, Prestwich Street Primary, La Rochelle, German International School Cape Town and Timour Hall.
What does this mean? No pupils, teachers or parents will bring or send plastic shopping bags to these school premises. All visitors will be advised of this policy, and neighbouring schools are also challenged to become part of the movement of a plastic shopping bag-free South Africa. We will continue with this drive in 2019 and any school can become part of this exciting movement. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like information and support in making your school a plastic shopping bag-free zone.
50|50 features Straws Suck!
The Aquarium's Straws Suck campaign, aimed at eliminating harmful plastic drinking straws, was featured on one of South Africa’s favourite family environmental programs, 50|50 - a highlight for any movement! This well-rounded short doccie really captured the essence of the drive against single-use plastic, which is currently gripping the globe. Straws are one of the easiest items to give up, so we challenge you to say "Straws Suck!"
V&A Waterfront breaks up with plastic
The V&A Waterfront's “We’re breaking up with plastic” campaign launched with a large public activation in the Victoria Wharf mall. With the V&A Waterfront being one of the world’s best-loved retail destinations, it holds the potential power to sway consumer habits and behaviour for the good of the earth. Their willingness to work hand in hand with the Two Oceans Aquarium saw the well thought-out launch of this campaign making a large public impact and gaining much retail support. We cannot wait to see what happens in 2019!
SPAR Eastern Cape and Western Cape move away from plastic
When the managing director of a company makes a big statement saying “Last year I sold 101 million plastic shopping bags and I will not do it again next year” everyone sits up and listens. Conrad Isaac of SPAR Eastern Cape did exactly this at the launch of their "STOP" campaign in Port Elizabeth this year.
Their move to offering paper bags is, at least, a move away from plastic bags and the group reported selling 3 million fewer plastic bags between April and September this year compared to the same period in 2017. Of course, the move to reusable shopping bags is what the Aquarium's Rethink the Bag campaign promotes, with paper bags still having a very high carbon footprint.
SPAR Western Cape also announced their next step in reducing plastic shopping bags. By simplifying customer choices, to support the reduction of plastic shopping bags, and by periodically swopping 10 plastic bags for one fabric reusable bag at their Western Cape stores, SPAR continues their relationship with the Aquarium.
Blue Route Mall joins Rethink The Bag campaign
Blue Route Mall decided to take on the Aquarium's Rethink the Bag campaign, specifically driving a plastic bag reduction programme for the three months of June, July and August. Blue Route Mall’s management, Redefine Properties, showed their commitment to this campaign in 2018, and have committed to engaging further in 2019.
South African celebs pledge to quit single-use plastic bags
Plastic Free July saw a huge influx of celebrity pledges to #rethinkthebag - including South African icons like Zolani Mahola, Siv Ngesi, Francois van Coke and Jack Parow. Capturing public attention by involving role models in causes can be very powerful, and our activities saw the Rethink the Bag campaign embark on a month-long collaboration with Twyg to engage South African celebs to lead the way by making their own personal commitments to the planet by refusing plastic bags forevermore.