With the eco-friendly craze that’s been taking our country by storm lately, people are becoming more conscious of their impact on planet Earth. Plastic waste, in particular, has become a common concern and awareness is being raised. Cairo alone produces around 16,000 tons of municipal garbage per day. Amidst all of that, you have probably come across the tote bag that Seoudi Supermarkets’ Maadi branches have adopted that’s been going viral. Well, we’ve been digging in and we reached out to the mastermind behind it all, Drumstick.
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مع مجهود صغير و تركيز بسيط في تغيير عادتنا اليومية ممكن نحدث فرق كبير اوي في حجم النفايات الي بننتجها. و خاصا في الأكياس البلاستيك الي بنستخدمها ١٠ دقايق و بتفضل على الكوكب ٧٥٠ سنه! (ده لو مخنقتش سلحفة أو سمكة في السكة) الشنطة دي صديقة للبيئة و ممكن يعاد استخدامها. بتطبق في نفسها لتصبح جيب صغير ممكن يبقى معاك في أي وقت. هذه الشنطة وصلتلك بفضل تبرع كامل من سوبر ماركت سعودي و غير هادف للربح. #thinkgreen #livegreen #drumstickdesigns #savetheplanet #cairo #egypt
Drumstick is a product design company, founded by Sherine Abdel Rassoul, back in 2010. At first, Abdel Rassoul started with home solutions; like tile stickers and light switch covers. She then expanded her production scope by introducing toys, furniture items, home accessories, and packaging design for other companies.
Sherine has always been an environmental advocate. As she grew up, she worked with Greenpeace for more than eight years, which shaped her personality into the tree hugger she is right now. She’s quite aware of the human impact on the environment, and despite drifting away from the ecological field, that never stopped her from doing something.
In an attempt to help save the environment, Drumstick’s founder designed the iconic tote bag and approached Seoudi Supermarkets for support.
“When I approached the Seoudi management, my mindset and only hope was to tell them that I'd like to sell this tote bag at their stores. I was going to ask them to not put a big profit margin on it, since I'm not putting any for myself, so as to keep the price low and people would be encouraged to buy it. That was the plan,” Sherine told us.
“The general manager listened attentively, and by the end of the presentation told me, ‘okay, how much does it cost? We'll take care of everything’. My jaw dropped. I asked again to make sure I understood correctly, and he repeated himself!”
Even though Sherine didn’t know a single person at Seoudi, they surprised her with their eco-consciousness and supported her all the way. The renowned supermarket chain adopted her project financially and didn’t try to make a profit out of it.
In light of that, we joined forces with Drumstick, in an attempt to make a change ourselves, and put together the following tips to help you reduce your plastic waste.
To begin with, you need to understand that you’ll be asking for something unusual. So, be ready to exert some effort to explain and convince others of your views. Not just that, but you’ll even have to insist on certain things.
Here are Drumstick's tips that’ll help you save the planet:
In the fruits, veggies, and bakery isles:
- Ask the attendant to weigh your fruits and veggies separately and put them all in one bag.
- Choose produce with least plastic or styrofoam packaging.
- Buy local, this way your food wouldn’t have had to travel halfway around the world on a plane, emitting CO2 gas: the closer your food source, the less the carbon footprint.
At the cheese and meat counter:
- If you know you are going home and will empty your cheeses and meats straight away, ask the attendant to pile your different types of cheeses on top of each other (with paper between each kind) in one plate. This plate will only be useful for 15 minutes until you get home then is tossed in the garbage and will take 17 years to disintegrate.
- Bring back your washed styrofoam plates and plastic containers to be reused.
In the groceries isle:
- Be aware of your consumption capacity and buy the largest containers available. This way, you get your product with the least possible packaging.
- Choose anything that comes in carton boxes over nylon or plastic packaging (e.g: tissue boxes, pasta, flour, etc.)
- Buy soap bars instead of liquid hand soap.
- Buy rechargeable batteries; batteries are very acidic, non-recyclable, and cause a lot of harm to the environment.
- Your children may love those stupid small bottles with cartoon characters, but does the planet? Ideally, you should refill a reusable water bottle, but if you must buy a water bottle, opt for the big ones.
Outside the supermarket:
- Keep a reusable bag in your car or backpack at all times. You never know when you might need it.
- When ordering food, make sure to tell them not to send cutlery or condiments if you have your own.
- Don’t use straws; just don’t.
- When ordering from the supermarket, pharmacy, or fruits and veggies’ store, insist that they pack the items in the least plastic bags possible.
Baby steps are all it takes to make a difference. One step at a time and the world as we know it will be changed, hopefully, for good.
We asked Drumstick about their future plans, and they involve lots of supermarkets, shops, pharmacies; basically invading Cairo’s retail outlets that use plastic bags. “We're committed to guilt-trip every single person who holds a plastic bag from now on”, Sherine said. She plans to create more eco-awareness, and this article is a mere stepping stone towards the greater goal.
By Nadine Arab