Surfrider Foundation Europe is dedicated to defending, improving and managing in a sustainable manner the ocean, coastline, waves and the people who enjoy them. Created in 1990, the organisation brings together about 1000 volunteers, 5000 members, 40 local groups, and more than 15,000 supporters across Europe. Surfrider’s programmes are dedicated to the enhancement and protection of the environment and education and awareness-raising for all ages.
Each year, over 500 billion bags are used worldwide. Most are used for a short period of time, but a significant number end up in our environment, causing serious damage to wildlife. This campaign encourages local commercial customers to avoid the use of plastic bags when it is not necessary, changing habits of consumption and reducing, in the long run, the production of plastic bags by:
- Persuading people not to use plastic bags when they are not absolutely necessary. This will be achieved through the use of 2000 geolocated stickers and signs in retail outlets.
- Conducting a study with numerous shops in France, Spain and Belgium, to see what impact the campaign has had, and whether it has reduced the number of bags used.
Surfrider report that they have sent out 20,000 French, 7000 English, and 3000 Spanish stickers to their supporters to put up in shops near the cash register. The stickers ask customers to not automatically take a plastic bag, but to think about not using one. The aim is to reduce the number of plastic bags used and therefore the number of bags that end up in the oceans causing danger to wildlife. Stickers were put in shops in 10 different countries and a number of people photographed the stickers in the shops. These can be viewed on their website at www.initiativesoceanes.org/stickers.php. Of the shops Surfriders surveyed, 84% are now concerned about the environmental damage caused by plastic bags as a result of the campaign, and 51% had reduced the number of bags they had distributed as a result of the campaign.