Remember the horror on that kid’s face when he said “I see dead people” in The Sixth Sense? Now, hold onto that horror. But switch him to Gen Z. Gen Zs see plastic pollution, plastic pollution everywhere.
Because it is!
And because of this Gen Zs really want businesses to start cutting back on all the damn plastic. Especially the trashy promotional kind. Especially the plain unnecessary kind.
They’re so against you giving them plastic in fact that plastic pollution is the second biggest world issue that Gen Zs want businesses to help out and make a difference with. Our Gen Z & Corporate Activism report has found it’s topped only by climate change. So here’s what some Gen Zs have had to say about it.
Plastic pollution is an urgent issue – “My increasing awareness of how desperate the fight for saving our ocean has made me much more conscious of the plastic I buy, and so I’m working towards being as plastic free/ethical with my purchases as I can. Businesses need to have a massive overhaul in how they package everyday goods,” a 16-year-old female rom NSW said.
Wrapping stuff in plastic is wildly OTT – Avoid it as best as you can, because 94% of Gen Z would like businesses to use more sustainable packaging. “We are unsolicitedly given unnecessarily and excessively packaged products that contribute to our current environmental crisis,” a 20-year-old male from Victoria said.
So are frivolous toys. Find other ways to entertain young people – “Products like Ooshies and Little Shop seriously disgust me… especially after the plastic bag ban. I mean, banning something as harmful as plastic bags is amazing for our planet, but introducing meaningless plastic toys afterwards seems extremely stupid,” a 15-year-old female from NSW said – one of many who mentioned Ooshies.
Big business? You have a big responsibility – “Big companies who are well aware of their reach in the world should implement subtle changes to their overall business model that adds some form of contribution to the minimisation of climate change process to try returning earth back to its more natural state. Whether it’s with less usage of plastics or banning other environmentally harming materials, this is needed in volumes cause volumes get results,” a 19-year-old male from Queensland said.
Or else we’ll spend our money elsewhere – “For me I have already changed the type of companies I make purchases with i.e. companies that don’t use plastic straws, bags etc,” the previous commenter continued.
There are clear solutions to start implementing – Ideas for eco-friendly alternative packaging poured in: bamboo, hemp, paper, cardboard, water-soluble packaging, durable materials that don’t release micro-plastics. As well as on business practices, such as discounts for consumers who bring reusable containers, penalties at work for using single-use plastic with funds going towards environmental charities, clear advice on how consumers can properly recycle products, and education on why these changes are important. And, do get vocal about it all.
We repeat: plastic pollution is an urgent issue for Gen Z – “I try my hardest to cut down on plastic and unnecessary plastic packaging can turn me off a product. Companies actively trying to decrease their global footprint while supporting causes such as preserving the Great Barrier Reef is also a hell yes from me as a consumer,” a 23-year-old female from Victoria said.
While climate change’s less sexy cousin plastic pollution mightn’t draw the popular images of Greta Thunberg and School Strike 4 Climate, it’s all connected for young people. It’s a sustainability mindset. And it’s why our overuse of plastic is the other great world issue Gen Zs are fighting against.