Earlier this year, representatives of the South Orange Environmental Commission and Green Team received an Environmental Achievement Award for their SO Not Plastic campaign from the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions. The SO Not Plastic campaign was an effort to reduce the consumption of single use plastics by educating the public about the effects of plastic on the ecosystem.
The goal of the campaign was to increase awareness of single use plastic’s ubiquity and to change consumption behavior among South Orange residents via a month of awareness that culminated in a challenge to live free of single use plastics for one week.
Patricia Canning led the creative team, which conceived of the campaign, along with Environmental Commission and Green Team members who organized, promoted and executed it. The outreach campaign included a pledge for residents to sign, a public service announcement (PSA) film that was screened at all of South Orange’s outdoor movie nights, reusable shopping bag giveaways (courtesy of Stop and Shop), car magnets, post cards outlining the top 10 things to stop using plastic at various locations in town, and a robust social media presence which featured “Live” events, “plastic hacks,” strategy/success/failure sharing, as well as word of mouth.
“Our hope is that after living plastic free for one week people realize that they can continue to drastically reduce their single use plastic consumption without compromising their way of life” said Patricia Canning, adding “we must reduce the amount of plastic we produce and use because recycling alone can not keep up with production.”
The award was presented on October 12, 2018.
To learn more, follow SO Not Plastic at https://www.facebook.com/SONotPlastic/. Environmental Commission meetings are open to the public and held on the third Thursday of each month at 7:30pm at the Village offices at 76 South Orange Avenue. Follow the Commission on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SORiverDay/.
South Orange received its first ANJEC award in 2017. Read more about that award here: