Plastic-free for social media

Hold on tight. May 25th has been set as “International Plastic Free Day,” so you may see many stories and posts on social media about avoiding single-use plastic in the next few hours.

The nonprofit group Free the Ocean set the day to “raise awareness of the plastic we use every day, especially single-use plastic”.

The group claims that if everyone around the world stopped using single-use plastic for one day, “we would avoid over 7.6 billion plastic items in that single day”.

I didn’t do the math myself, but the world population was an estimated 7.8 billion people in 2020, so the group has to assume that almost all of these people buy single-use plastic items every day. I think you can call me skeptical of his claims.

That’s not to say that I don’t see any value in avoiding single-use plastics, no matter what day. I rely on reusable bottles, bring my own bags to the store, and either reuse or recycle take-away containers. But I’m not sure if a series of social media posts will change anyone’s mind about plastics, and choosing a random day to be plastic-free isn’t going to fix the global recycling infrastructure.

But if you see your cousin or your friend’s friend who you’ve met once or twice posting something on Facebook in the next few days, don’t be surprised.

Oh, and prepare for July 3rd. This is the “International Day Without Plastic Bags”.

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