Shehab Abdel Wahab, Head of the Environmental Affairs Agency, declared that Egyptians use about 12 billion plastic bags each year in 2018. That’s a lot, and it looks like both brands and people are taking notice and want to do something about it.
In recent years, we’ve seen more and more brands, both international and local, take up the eco-conscious banner alongside non-profits and initiatives created by everyday people.
So, if you’re an eco-warrior or just someone who wants to limit their waste a bit, here are some of the brands and pages you should know about.
Brands and Governates
International brands have already got us covered, with lots of local alternatives to boot!
International brands such as Carrefour, Seoudi Supermarket, IKEA and H&M now sell reusable bags to encourage fewer plastic bags at stores. Some of them actually use local producers for their bags.
Zooba recently removed fridges from their locations to curb plastic container usage, according to EgyEcoLand, which reduced approximately 350K single-use plastic containers annually.
A local lifestyle brand has been heating up the fashion scene by upscaling plastic bags into fashionable bags of different shapes, sizes and colors. Up Fuse states that “one bag we produce can hinder almost 30 plastic bags from being thrown away.”
Even hotels are jumping in, with JW Marriot recently becoming the first to launch a local solar powered hotel.
It’s not just brands getting in on the eco-action, but local governates have also been pushing harder to improve their footprint on the world.
The Ministry of Environment launched an anti-plastic bag initiative in 2017 called “Enough Plastic Bags” to reduce our dependency on plastic shopping bags.
The Red Sea Governate has banned single-use or disposable plastics starting this month; according to the Association for the Protection of the Environment, the decision, made by Governor Ahmed Abdallah, aims to protect wildlife, marine life and endangered species, all of which have been severely affected by plastic due to ingestion, poisoning or suffocation.
According to Al Ahram, “the decree will ban the use of plastic bags in food shops, restaurants, supermarkets, grocery stores and pharmacies. Plastic knives and forks, cups and straws will also be banned in restaurants and on cruise ships within the governorate.”
Earlier this year, the South Sinai Governate opened its first solar power plant to introduce more renewable energy to the country’s powerlines.
Activities and Pages
With such a giant wave of eco-consciousness sweeping the nation, there are a lot of things that you could do to become a better citizen for the planet.
Pages such as EgyEcoLand are a great way to get started; they publish various posts on different ways to start on your journey and promote several initiatives and local brands that are creating eco-conscious items such as shopping bags and toothbrushes. You can also check out some of their interviews with locals who have adopted Zero Waste lifestyles for tips on how real local people have done it.
Verynile is one of the more popular pages for those looking to really get into action, this page helps create events where volunteers can go out together to pick up trash and plastic waste from the Nile.
Otherwise, a great way to push for cleaner waters all over the world is Run For The Oceans. Adidas and Runtastic, the people behind acclaimed running/exercise app Runtastic, is launching Run for The Oceans for its 2nd year to raise money for the Parley Ocean School.
All you have to do is Run! Download the Runtastic app and select the Run for The Oceans challenge. For every 1km ran, adidas will donate $1, capped at 1.5 million US dollars.
The Parley Ocean School initiative is an environmental education program in the Maldives which educates and empowers kids to become the next generation of Ocean Guardians through immersive experiences in the environment we are fighting to protect. With a wide variety of activities on and in the water, the program introduces youth to the underwater world and teaches them about the impacts of marine plastic pollution.
Are you joining the anti-plastic battle? Let us know how you started or are starting!