How many disposable plastic products have you used today?
In this plastic epidemic, various environmental movements, campaigns, and policies are being implemented.
Are you still using them because you feel like you're not much help as an individual and are afraid of others thinking you are weird, even though you understand the severity of the environmental problems, and that we must protect the nature?
Here's a culture designer who easily turns such inadvertent one-time usage of disposable plastic into better habits for the environment.
Take a listen to Go Geon, a culture designer and BX planner at OFF THE PLASTIC.
Hello, could you tell us about yourself and OFF THE PLASTIC?
Hi. I'm Go Geon, a BX planner at OFF THE PLASTIC, where we reduce one-time plastic usage in daily life through small habits. OFF THE PLASTIC isn't a brand that creates alternative products or rejects all usage of plastic. We focus on the social and experiential problem of "one-time use" and try to resolve it by changing the habit of using plastics to the better habit effortlessly.
What does your brand name, "OFF THE PLASTIC" mean?
It derives from "off the record," which means unofficial and unreleased content. I thought the typical green images and designs associated with eco-friendly brands don't appeal to people very much. I wanted to take off the pressure of showing "eco-friendly" logo openly and having people think, "oh, that person has the mindset of an environmentalist." Among office workers, many are vegan or involved in the protection of animals. But if they show related actions at work, they would be pressured or criticized by certain people. That's how I got the idea of "let's do it covertly, make it off the record" and named it OFF THE PLASTIC. By hiding it from daily life, we try to practice environmental movement where it can't be seen. Our logos are all hidden inside our products.
On average, a person uses four to five plastic products a day. After a year, that amounts to 520. OFF THE PLASTIC also means to replace those 520. We try to create better habits that can be an alternative to those 520 plastic products.
Tell us about the activities and business of OFF THE PLASTIC.
Our activities are largely divided into two parts. First, we have a business model that develops products for sale and profit. The second part is our campaign. The existing eco-friendly brands have put their nice images at the forefront, then asked people to use their products and services. On the other hand, we operate them separately. In other words, our sales are independent from the campaigns that deliver our messages. As for our campaigns, they involve interviewing people who use eco-friendly brands, love their pets, vegans, or cafes that don't use disposable plastic.
You said you're also interviewing people who love pets and vegans. How are they related to not using disposable plastic?
People who love pets or vegans are often very interested in being environmentally friendly. Since OFF THE PLASTIC isn't only about reducing disposable plastic, but being eco-friendly, we are including such clientele in our campaigns.
How did you come to create OFF THE PLASTIC?
Even though the use of plastic is becoming an important issue in our society, I think it's an irreplaceable material. It's impossible to completely eliminate the use of plastic that's so widely and thoroughly being used. That's why I created OFF THE PLASTIC to change our habits into a better one, that uses plastic many more times than necessary without being conscious about it. For instance, by using tumblers and bags, we can reduce the number of disposables we use per day.
Personally, I found out about OFF THE PLASTIC through a crowdfunding project (https://www.wadiz.kr/web/campaign/detail/20789). Could you introduce the products you sold through this?
This bag is special for not showing the environmental consciousness on the outside, with the motto of "off the record," our keyword. In the bags of people who are environmentally aware, they always carry individuals cups with them. The problem is not having a separate compartment, which mixed up the objects inside the bags. We focused on that issue and created the compartment, so packing individual cups and carrying eco bags become effortless habits.
In the bag, there's an eco bag, a tumbler, and an umbrella cover. The eco bag is in place of the label, which can be used as an alternative plastic bag. We made a small space for tumblers to fix the mixup situation in bags. As for the umbrella cover, it keeps you away from using the disposable plastic covers when you enter buildings and subway stations on rainy days.
Is there anything in particular that you cared about when you designed the bag?
I designed it for practicality. When I found out about how serious the plastic problem is, I set out to practice using less plastic in my daily life. I looked inside the trash bin in my office, and it was filled with disposable products that are used only once, like plastic cups and umbrella covers. That's when I thought, I should reduce at least these products in the trash. The bin inspired me to design the garbage bin-shared OFF THE PLASTIC bag. Since it's quite sizable, we could have more diversity in the storage design, making it more practical and added the brand image to the design itself.