Cheeky Observer | Give Love Not Plastic | Go Zero-Waste this Festive Season
Give Love Not Plastic is a simple social message we can use to encourage our fellow humans to minimise consumption of unnecessary plastics and waste during the festive season. 
zero-waste, Christmas, minimalist, plastic-free, environmental, climate change, typography, artivism
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Give Love Not Plastic

Compassion vs Consumerism

December is the month we associate with celebration; with festive cheer. While work winds down, time spent at parties, family gatherings and catching up with friends ramps up.  I love this time of year as much as the next person, but I am also very conscious of the cultural programming that sees consumerism take over, and the levels of waste that accumulate as a by-product. 


And so, this year, I’ve decided to spend my spare time focusing on how I creatively encourage people to enjoy the festivities in a way that is also considerate of the environment.  In an attempt to minimise the impact we have on our planet (which is choking to the brim with plastic), I would offer instead that we adopt a zero-plastic mindset when it comes to our purchasing decisions during December.


Give Love Not Plastic is a simple social message we can use to encourage our fellow humans to minimise consumption of unnecessary plastics and waste during the festive season. 



Spread The Social Message

1. Download and print one of the  ‘Give Love Not Plastic’ poster from the options below. There are a variety of designs to choose from, in both colour and black and white.


If you’re into design, craft, lettering, or just curious to pick up a pen and have a crack, create your own poster, reading ‘Give Love Not Plastic’


2. Get snap happy with your poster.
Metaphoric brownie points will be awarded for the most witty, creative, ironic, or heartfelt picture you can conjure. It could be in your favourite spot in nature, outside a shopping mall, or simply just you and your poster. The sky is the limit. 


3. Share your pics to your Insta / Facebook feed and stories, using the hashtag  #GiveLoveNotPlastic.
If you want to go the extra mile, tag a few friends in the comments encouraging them to get involved. Please tag me as well @cheeky_lettering so I can re-share your post!


4. Re-use or recycle your poster.
Pass it onto a friend!  Hang it on your wall! Or  just recycle it. 


If the business with the posters & posting is all a bit too much….
Please read the tip section below for how to go plastic-free when shopping this season, and forward a link to this webpage onto a friend who might be interested.


Quality vs Quantity

As a rule of thumb, opt for quality, not quantity as a way to mitigate unnecessary consumerism. Instead of buying a plethora of small items, buy a single thing that costs a bit more – something ideally with a long life span, an e-gift or an experience.


If you’re shopping in store, take your own bags to carry your goodies and refuse additional plastic bags, excess packaging, and gift-wrapping for individual items if you don’t need it. To that point, consider the environment when you’re purchasing things like gift wrapping, decorations, and other novelty props. If it’s not reusable, just don’t do it.


Buying clothes / shoes / accessories? Make a point of understanding the what’s gone on behind the scenes to produce into the product you’re interested in. The Good On You app is really handy resource to have on your phone – you can search fashion brands and look up their rating, which is calculated according to company’s supply chain, environmental and animal policies.

Eco Friendly Gift Ideas

– Reusable coffee cups: I love Keep Cups as they’re made from glass. You can purchase them in South Africa from Yuppie Chef, some Seattle Coffee Co. and Woolworths stores. Most popular coffee shops are now offering their own branded version of reusable cups; my hint would be to find one that’s made from glass or bamboo.


Reusable straws: there are a bunch of options on the market now including bamboo, stainless steel, glass, and even pasta.


– Solar Cells: The Sun Exchange are an amazing  peer-to-peer solar leasing platform that enables anyone in the world to buy solar cells and lease them to businesses in emerging markets. Why not buy some cells as a gift for your loved ones? They will even make money in the form of interest which is paid out monthly in either local currency or bitcoin.


– Plants: who doesn’t love some plant-life to breathe life into a kitchen or workspace? If you watering regularly is going to be an issue, start slow with some succulents or a terrarium. You can make you own with a few simple ingredients (see here for a great how-to guide from The Conscious Consumer), or pay the extra have some expertly constructed.


Sneaker Lab Kits. Sneaker culture is all the rage right now, but what do you do with your favourite kicks when they’ve walked their last mile? With minimal options for recycling shoes, it’s worth doing everything you can to try and make them last as long as you can.


Greenpop tree certificates: sponsor trees to be planted in your loved one’s name.


– Do away with the idea that you need to have something physical sitting in a box under a tree and invest in an an e-gift or an experience. A cooking class, a weekend away, wine tasting, some kind of sporting experience – whatever your person’s jam is, I’m sure you can find an experience tailored to their interests.


Give Love Not Plastic Typography Alicia McFadzean

Tips for minimising waste

Know Your Facts about Plastic

Knowledge is power.
Did you know that 90% of plastics produced have not ever been recycled?
Greenpeace have a couple of excellent quick-read documents I’ve linked below, to help you brush up on your knowledge on the issue of plastic pollution.


Key Facts & Information 

Parties & Family Gatherings

– If you’re planning on having picnics at the park or the beach, avoid buying single-use plates, cups and utensils at all costs. It’s only going to take a little bit of extra effort to bring some from home that you can wash up later.
– At said gathering, resist the urge to throw anything that’s recyclable straight in the bin – take it home, clean it, and dispose of it correctly.
– Eating out? Refuse plastic straws, stirrers and bottles if you waiter brings them to your table.
– If you’re grabbing takeaway, enquire what kind of packaging your food will be coming in. It’s up to us to encourage our favourite restaurants and cafes to make use of biodegradable containers.


– Go the extra mile when it comes to your grocery shopping. If the the supermarket only has fruits and vegetables packaged in plastic, hunt around for a zero-waste retailer or farmer’s market that you can go to for at least some of your shopping needs.
– It kind of goes without saying at this point, but bring reusable bags with you when you grocery shop. Stash a bunch in your car or keep a small foldable tote bag with you so you’re always prepared.
– Sub out plastic freezer / fridge bags for the eco-friendly cotton or linen kind. They keep food just as fresh in the fridge and are very hand at the shops. Kare Bags (Cape Town) are a great example of a supplier making these.
– Check the recycling labels on the back of your products to see whether you can actually recycle them, and cross check this with your local government’s recycling info. For example, a cardboard box that’s lined with laminated/waxy paper is not always recyclable.
– When you’re ready to recycle items at home make sure they’re 100% clean before they go out – in many cases it’s likely they’ll end up in landfill if not.

Have some spare time?

Get involved in a local clean-up in your community. A quick search on Facebook or Google will help you find an organised event … or grab some friends for a solo mission if there’s a natural area near you in need of some TLC.
If you have any other suggestions please send them through to me and I will update this list!