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Beating Plastic Pollution

How art and crowd funding raise awareness in South Korea
Beat plastic pollution South Korea
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“Consumers in South Korea are asking companies to show what they’re doing to protect the Earth. It’s high time we address their concerns,” says Yumi Kang, marketing manager at Nestlé Waters South Korea.

That’s why Yumi and her colleagues at Nestlé Waters South Korea partnered up with the United Nations Environmental Programme in April 2019 to devise the Beat Plastic Pollution campaign. Unique in its kind, the campaign combined a crowdfunding effort, lecture, ocean cleanup and art exhibit to raise awareness around reducing plastic pollution in South Korea. “I wanted to activate this campaign and reach as many consumers as possible with our message,” Yumi added.

This diverse and creative approach is what made the project such a success, helping to address the challenges associated with plastic pollution in the region.

No less than 782 contributors donated a total of 2,312,100 KRW ($10,500) to pre-fund the Ocean Cleanup Camp, where students were brought face to face with the importance of reducing plastic waste.

ocean cleanup
plastic pollution in the ocean

But for Yumi Kang, the highlight of the campaign was the Upcycling Sculpture Exhibit. Almost 1500 plastic bottles were collected and used to make a unique installation/ sculpture that was displayed in the Marine Natural History Museum in Busan, one of the largest port cities in South Korea.

plastic recycling
plastic waste management

“It shows the power of art when it comes to delivering a message” Yumi says “In less than 3 months, the exhibit drew over 45,000 visitors. No one in the food and beverage industry has ever tried that before.”


Stepping up to challenge plastic pollution

The campaign is part of Nestlé Waters’ commitment to develop beginning-to-end plastics solutions and circular economy initiatives to help eliminate the impact of our packaging on the environment. For instance by collecting as many plastic bottles as we produce by 2030.

But besides finding new ways of recycling, producing and reusing plastics, an equally essential part of reducing and managing plastic pollution sustainably depends on increasing awareness. The Beat Plastic Pollution campaign that Ms. Kang devised was inspired by Nestlé Waters’ strong track record in reducing plastic waste.

Nestlé plastic waste strategy

“I wanted to share everything we are doing to protect the environment and show people how seriously we take the responsibility towards the environment and our consumers.”


Raising future awareness for the planet

Taking action with global organizations such as UNEP is an effective way of raising plastic pollution awareness across the world. Our latest efforts surrounding the Beat Plastics Pollution campaign in South Korea show that positive change is accelerated when citizens, companies, governments and the international community come together to join forces and take action.

how to end plastic waste

Similar projects focused on reducing plastic garbage in South Korea are already on the horizon, and Yumi Kang is optimistic about the potential to create widespread awareness:

“I feel that people are really starting to care about the environment, and that this kind of campaign will become more common in the future.”