Today (22nd April), it is Earth Day! We know the past year and a bit has been unpredictable and many of us have been affected both physically and mentally and that’s ok. It will get better! However, we are here to talk about our campaign called Swap Plastic in honour of Earth Day. We want to educate others about plastic pollution and how to use plastic in more of an environmentally friendly way.
A bit about us
We’re five young women who began the SwapPlastic campaign through UpRising UK because of our mutual concerns about plastic pollution. We’ve operated entirely online through Zoom and Slack and are still yet to meet in person as a team. SwapPlastic aims to educate people and businesses about plastic and give solutions to swap plastic where it isn’t necessary. We push the concept of being ‘plastic-aware’, not anti-plastic. Plastic could be great for climate change if we use and recycle it properly.
Although the campaign is focused in the West Midlands, we’re pretty spread out – Khushali, Jyoti and Nikita are based around Birmingham, Rosie’s from Cardiff and Imogen’s from London! Our age range is 19-23, we speak over eight languages collectively from Welsh to Gujarati to Italian and our backgrounds are very diverse. But we all care greatly about clearing up confusion on plastic. There really are people like you out there – you may just not have met them yet!
Launching SwapPlastic – ‘Swap plastic for the planet!’
After thoroughly planning our campaign, we officially launched it in January 2021! We’re @swapplastic on Instagram and Facebook.
Through our campaign, we’ve raised awareness about plastic pollution with the public, predominantly in the UK. Our main target audience is university students, with 18-24 year olds making up 38% of our Instagram community.
In 3 months, we’ve made 44 posts, promoted various plastic-conscious businesses, and reached over 400 Instagram followers and 118 Facebook page likes. We won a £50 grant in UpRising’s Social Action Saturday event plus a £200 grant with PeaceFirst.
How do we raise awareness about plastic pollution?
Our posts range from watch-list suggestions to highlighting shocking facts to ‘sustainable swaps’, sharing suggestions on how to swap unnecessary plastic with a better alternative. These posts give our audience a clearer idea of eco-friendlier, cheaper alternatives to products they regularly use. Along the way, we’ve promoted several plastic-aware businesses on our platforms that provide useful plastic alternatives.
We also do giveaways – we had our first successful giveaway in March where we gave out products from The Body Shop! This way, we can connect eco-friendly businesses with a wide-reaching audience for free, which benefits everybody.
We’ll be having another giveaway in April and one in June, so keep an eye on our Instagram page 🙂
As we grow our social media accounts, our next steps are to:
– Write our FIRST blog post – so one of our goals is actually accomplished through this post! 😀
– Keep growing our page with more posts and active engagement! Have you followed us yet? 😉
– Do 3 eco-friendly giveaways this year, supporting plastic-aware businesses, of which we have already done one!
– Host virtual live seminars for students and other audiences to share insightful information on various plastic-related topics, such as microplastics.
– (Long term) Host a conference for businesses and students to discuss global plastic injustices, especially in developing countries.
– Build a free ‘toolkit’ to increase awareness with corporations. In simpler words, free environmental consultancy so they can rethink their plastic usage! This is another long-term goal because it will require a lot more time and work to investigate first.
What are we up to in the near future?
This month, we’re *finally* having a virtual social event to just chat as a team, since our campaign has been non-stop for the last five months. We’re still posting at least 3 times a week, and partnering with Platfform4YP is really exciting for us.
We can’t wait to meet each other in-person when it’s possible. It’s been incredible how well we get on despite never meeting face-to-face, and how much we’ve already achieved despite being limited to online activism.
YOU can start a campaign too!
We’re here to say that if you want to act on something you care about, you can do it now, and you don’t have to do it alone! Both UpRising UK and PeaceFirst are official organisations which give young people the tools to create change. We tackle plastic pollution, but you can target any social issue or injustice you want.
Check them out – if you’re aged 13 or older, go to https://www.peacefirst.org/and if you’re 18 to 25, try out PeaceFirst or go to http://www.uprising.org.uk/Don’t miss out! These are great opportunities!
You’re never too young or too old to make a difference.
We’re doing a webinar on micro-plastics on 14th May so keep an eye on our Instagram!