31.5.17 | With their Tasini project, Roger Spranz, a PhD student at the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research, and three colleagues – one German and two Indonesians – want to take action against ocean pollution. The scientists developed the Tasini, a reusable shopping bag made of recycled plastic in the form of small marine animals to replace the plastic bag in Indonesia. Their project starts in the run-up to World Oceans Day on 8 June.
Indonesia is the second largest source of plastic pollution to the world’s oceans. Around 10 million plastic bags are used here every day. At present, no promising approach exists to solve the problem.
The social scientist Spranz is also exploring this topic in his doctoral thesis. In co-operation with the non-governmental organization Eco-Bali, he started a research project three years ago to study which incentives might motivate people on Bali to use fewer plastic bags. In the small Indonesian shops, the warungs, where people do their daily shopping, the plastic bags are ubiquitous, and they often land on rubbish dumps at one of the beaches after use.
With his three colleagues, Spranz founded the initiative “Making Oceans Plastic Free” in 2016. Their current project: the reusable shopping bag Tasini. In Indonesian “Tasini” means "this bag" and is supposed to be the answer when you are asked in the shop if you want a plastic bag. The foldable bag has been designed in the shape of small marine animals to motivate as many locals as possible to use the bag. The design connects with Asian cultures’ love for fun fashion accessories, and is practical and convenient: the bag can be folded and attached to a key chain so that it is always with you. A single Tasini can replace up to 400 plastic bags a year.
“Active environmental protection is often about telling people what they should and shouldn’t do," said Spranz. "That's why it often has a negative connotation. We believe that it is more effective and motivating when environmental protection is fun for people." Sea creatures suffer particularly from the consequences of plastic pollution. The small turtles, octopuses, sharks and rays in the form of shopping bags shall function as eco-ambassadors and raise awareness for this topic.
In a first step, 1,000 Tasini prototypes have been manufactured and tested. Now the project is set to go in series production. On 30 May 2017, the project will be launched on the crowdfunding platform "Indiegogo". The goal is the production of Tasini shopping bags made of recycled plastic waste (PET) in Indonesia under high environmental and social standards and the launch of a large-scale environmental awareness campaign. In Indonesia, the initiative is working with the local youth project "Bye Bye Plastic Bags". The two sisters who founded this project will speak at the UN General Assembly on 8 June, World Oceans Day.