TITLE: Hackathon Punchers: Plastic Punch Ambassadors

By: Ghena Dabbas, Gia Narayan, Georgina Abdel Massih

Hello! Welcome to the first blog post written by the Plastic Punch ambassadors. We are looking forward to expanding the Plastic Punch platform and sharing what we have planned with everyone. For now, here is a bit about us and how we got involved with Plastic Punch.  

We were first introduced to Plastic Punch on the second day of the online conference that was dubbed the ‘Hackathon’. For this event, all the student participants were divided into small groups (since it was alphabetical, all our names thus begin with G). Here, we watched a video that spoke about Plastic Punch’s initiative and goals but also some potential areas of improvement. The goal was to pitch a proposal to the Plastic Punch team that provided a potential solution for these areas of improvement. Our team decided to focus on the topic of funding since the website had no running donations link. Within this time frame, the group had to make a powerpoint presentation that outlined the design principles, our main plan and the action plan (with a timeline). Our winning team was selected by Plastic Punch and now has the opportunity to work with them.

For the past few months, as the three of us gradually started working with Plastic Punch, we were exposed to numerous environmental issues affecting Ghana and the international community which really motivated us to do better and widened our perspectives as citizens of the future generation. We were given tasks that had to do with helping Plastic Punch achieve their aims of raising awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution, as well as starting our intense and incredibly exciting action plan that we hope to implement within the upcoming months, including regularly updating this website with informative yet entertaining blog posts that hope raise awareness and encourage a greener lifestyle that reduces plastic consumption.Keep an eye out for upcoming posts!

Extended Producer Responsibility and Doughnut Economics

EPR and Doughnut Economics: Debunking these Green Policies

By: Gia Narayan

Environmental preservation and restoration is becoming increasingly important everyday. As we make individual changes, however, it is equally important to ensure that this change is integrated into our wider society. Within this article, we will be exploring the concepts of Extended Producer Responsibility and Doughnut Economics: two socio-economic concepts that place sustainability at the heart of their design. 

Extended Producer Responsibility: what it is and why it is important

Firstly, Extended Producer Responsibility (abbreviated to EPR) is a policy approach which places an emphasis on the role that producers (businesses) play. Within this initiative, producers have significant responsibility to ensure that their processes (especially for disposal of products) is sustainable. Within this mentality of EPR, producers should be designing products and be operating within markets with environmental preservation at the heart of their process. New packaging designs should not only minimise costs but make sure that this is not achieved at the expense of environmental damage. Globally, we are witnessing a shift in business objectives to integrate recycling into manufacturing processes. 

How does EPR work and what can we do?

Very often, to kickstart the spread of EPR within an economy, the government provides financial incentives through subsidies. However, consumers have power to initiate this change as well: as we demand more ‘green’ products, there is more incentive for companies to switch to cater towards this emerging market.  Therefore, it is our responsibility to pick the most environmentally friendly option where possible- this serves as a signal to businesses that there is demand for sustainable products. 

Doughnut Economics: A Green Alternative

Secondly, Doughnut Economics is a model, proposed by Kate Raworth, that outlines a way in which a green economy could operate. The essence of it promotes an environmental ceiling which limits economic growth. She describes the need to live within two rings of life or the “doughnut” to enjoy sustainable growth: the lower ring describes 12 essential things that all citizens have access to whilst the outer ring shows 9 ecological limits that humanity must not overshoot. This circular strategy hopes to integrate environmental awareness into economics.

Plastic Punch’s primary aim is in conjunction with this model as our beach clean-ups and green initiatives raise awareness about these ecological limits such as the loss of biodiversity. As we work together to go green, it is up to our society to gradually evolve and integrate aspects of these models.