Bali says bye-bye to single-use plastic bags, straws, and polystyrene

The 23rd of June 2019 marks a big day in history for all supporters of the plastic-free movement. After a six months adaptation period, the Bali government announced the ban on all single-use plastic bags, straws and polystyrene becoming the first province in Indonesia to do so. 

This result was only possible thanks to a group of students at Green School that created the project Bye Bye Plastic Bags. Inspired by their teacher, Isabel and Melati have been leading a youth movement to rid Bali of single-use plastic bags. 

Melati and Isabel are on a mission to stop plastic bags from suffocating their beautiful island home of Bali. 

What started with a vision has become a successful movement. As an alternative to single-use plastic bags, a local supermarket chain started packing food with banana leaves.

Bintang Supermarket, a Bali supermarket chain, has switched from using plastic bags to banana leaves to wrap their vegetables.Bintang Supermarket, a Bali supermarket chain, has switched from using plastic bags to banana leaves to wrap their vegetables. Photo: Facebook/Bintang Supermarket

With plans to expand this adoption to other communities and business across the island, there will be another 6 months of hardcore education and involvement of local-level authorities.

This is just one example of what can be done when different people and organizations work together.


Why is it important?

A study from the University of California, Santa Barbara, conducted by a group of scientists including Roland Geyer, an industrial ecologist, shows that half of all plastic that has ever existed was made in the past 13 years.

If we look at Bali as an example, the island has been producing 680 cubic meters of plastic garbage per day as a result of local usage and the millions of tourists who visit the province every year. Now they are working to reverse this waste production.

 

What are other countries doing about plastic waste?

Managing plastic waste is not only a concern for Indonesia. At the very same month that Bali achieved this amazing accomplishment, the 2019 G20 Summit was hosted in Osaka, Japan to discuss themes such as climate change, energy, and marine plastic litter.

As part of the Group of 20 (G20), United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, France, China, and other 12 countries sent their leaders to represent an international framework that aims at establishing voluntary measures to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean, under which each member will report progress on its measures and make an effort to reduce waste plastic under each other's supervision.


To reduce plastic waste, we need to reduce plastic production and consumption

Although it is important to take the necessary measures to reduce plastic waste, this action alone doesn’t solve the problem. If we want to have less plastic to be disposed of in the ocean or any other environment, we need to have less plastic being produced and consumed.

At Swell Vision, in addition to supporting green initiatives such as the Green School Kul Kul Connection Program which made possible the Bye Bye Plastic project in Bali, we also remain responsible for the products we offer.

Our floatable sunglasses, watches, and apparel contain zero percent of plastic. They are made out of bamboo, which is a natural woody grass that grows mainly in the tropics.

Swell Vision Bamboo ProductsPhoto: The Niagara Watch

Bamboo is a very versatile raw product, and it has a higher compressive strength than wood, brick or concrete, and higher tensile strength than steel. 

Next time you add something to your shopping list, think of all the alternatives of plastic and choose products made of eco-friendly materials.

 

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