The benefits of plastic are unquestionable. It’s cheap, lightweight and ubiquitous. But plastic can take thousands of years to break down, and the growing use of single-use plastics is becoming one of our planet’s greatest environmental challenges.
Our awareness about the issue led to the recent Plastic-Free Challenge in our office in Jakarta, which saw hundreds of staff pledge to cut down their plastic use.
To build awareness on the impacts of plastics on our environment, a screening was held of the award-winning film A Plastic Ocean for the staff in Jakarta office. We also partnered with the Plastic Oceans Foundation to translate the movie into Bahasa Indonesia for the first time.
After the launching of Plastic-Free Challenge in Jakarta office, around 200 staff signed up, and spent the first week monitoring their plastic consumption on a specially-designed scorecard to provide a baseline. At the end of the week each participant signed a pledge to cut plastic consumption by an amount of their choosing. We were thrilled that 53 per cent pledged to cut their plastic usage by half or more.
To help them achieve their new commitment we provided staff with a complimentary lunchbox – but the event proved so popular we had to go out and source more!
“We got an overwhelming reaction so we got many more people registered than we had expected – 30 per cent more. So then I had to quickly run into one of these e-commerce sites and look for additional lunch boxes,”
Marina, member of Sustainability team.
In the second week the focus shifted to action, with a variety of events and peer-sharing sessions arranged to maintain the enthusiasm.
“I think one of our worries was that people would be excited for the challenge during the first two weeks but then their interest would drop off and they would return to their old habits,” said James, another member of Sustainability team. “We organized peer sharing sessions where people get to talk about the issues that they have, and a sense of support group appears where they can share ideas, share solutions going forward and keep each other motivated,”
We also screened a video featuring our own Plastic-Free Ambassadors – senior leaders who spoke about the efforts they are making to reduce the use of plastic in their own lives.
At the end of the challenge, two-thirds of participants had managed to hit their targets. That amounts to more than 2,400 pieces of plastic per month that would otherwise have ended up in the trash.
Participants also said they found a newfound appreciation of the impact our individual choices can have on the environment.
Here in Tanoto Foundation, we’re doing our part to reduce plastic waste by continuously supporting the #PlasticFreeChallenge. You can also create impact by making your own pledge here.