“Earth was created for all of us, not some of us” - Anthony Douglas Williams
“What i stand for, is what i stand on” - Wendell Berry
In celebration of World’s Ocean day, the THIS IS A LOVE SONG and TIALS Studio team held a beach cleanup in the most popular beach in Bali, the Kuta Beach. As a brand who embodies sustainability in our core, we are interested in educating and raising awareness towards issues that are causing the ocean and its wildlife harm.
During our cleanup, we noticed that there weren’t a lot of intact plastic bags. Instead, we found small bits of plastic that were actually more difficult to pick up. These kinds of plastic are actually even more harmful for our environment. These are called “Microplastic”. You may have encountered micro plastics in your daily routine. Micro plastics are EVERYWHERE. From your packaging, household necessities, and even in skincare. Have you ever noticed that when you buy a facial scrub, there are minuscule dots? Some beauty companies would promote their product as “natural” or “organic” but it still has these dots. Some people are unaware of this because they thought that these dots would disintegrate when it touches the skin. However, instead when you rinse they go down the drain and straight to our waterways. These are also so harmful for your skin!. It creates minuscule scars that’ll leave your skin irritated. So, the lesson here is Please check your skincare ingredients. Please, we beg you. Moreover this is also a reason why buying clothes made out of polyester is harmful to the environment since microplastic gets mixed with our drain water after every wash. When these plastics go down your drain and go to the environment, not only does plastic take thousands of years to disappear, but our wildlife also consumes it. Fish, amphibians, and mammals consume it and it ends up harming the whole ecosystem.
Some of you may know that THIS IS A LOVE SONG is an Indonesian company that is based in Bali. We manufacture our products in our own ethical Production Studio, TIALS Studio. We try to avoid using plastic as much as possible.
Ever since plastic was introduced to Bali without the right education and proper recycling facilities, plastic has been finding its way onto our beaches, into our waterways and even into our food. On December 21st 2018, Bali’s Governor announced a ban on single-use plastic by June 2019. On June 23rd 2019, the bill was officially instituted, meaning styrofoam, plastic bags and plastic straws are now prohibited island-wide.
Fast forward to the present, 2021, commercial shops and department stores do not hand you products with single use plastics. Everyone is advised to bring their own shopping bags. Although these are small changes, this still hasn’t stopped the use of plastics. There are still independent shops that sell plastic and here on the island, we lack bins and recycling programs and facilities.
So, how do we tackle plastic issues as a brand?
In our studio, we have bins that are separated into four categories; Fabrics, Paper, plastic and organic waste. We store our materials in containers to avoid the use of plastic and to also keep it safe. We assure and educate our staff in the use of plastic and provide them appliances to avoid them from buying, using, and bringing plastic to the workspace. We have also substituted plastic poly bags with polybags made out of cassava which is biodegradable for our packaging and shipping bags. Since 2018 we have also introduced eco-friendly fabrics into our collections and we aim to incorporate the most sustainable options whenever we can. However we are not perfect but we are always working to be more sustainable everyday.
We aim to raise awareness whenever we have the chance, especially in Bali where the subject of plastic use is not fairly talked about and discussed.
Raising awareness is SO important. You don't have to have a big platform to be able to voice out. I urge you to go out and have a small conversation with anyone about these issues. Small changes turn into big changes. A small step over time Will create a big impact.
To celebrate the World's Ocean Day we did an interview with our team members. Check it out!
Why is ocean day important?
Ocean day is important because we have to raise awareness of what's happening to it. Not a lot of us know where our trash is going. If that trash ends up in the ocean, then we have a big problem. Not only would it damage the ocean's ecosystem, it will also go back to us. We also eat fish. We need to think long term and raise awareness to take care of it and its animals that live in it.
Why do we need to clean the beach?
The beach is really important to us, firstly for tourism. So, we do not want to perceive a beach that is not clean. Starting from ourselves, we need to have the desire for a clean beach and to clean as well.
We need to protect the beach to protect our sources and wildlife that are endangered.
How important is the ocean to us?
The ocean contains fishes as well. So, who has never eaten seafood? Don’t we not want our food to be contaminated? If we don't clean our ocean, we’re no longer eating fish. We’re eating plastic. That is why we have to contribute to keeping the ocean clean.
The ocean should be very important. As humans, we always live beside it. We should make it our duty to protect, save and keep the ocean healthy.
What is the small step that you will continue to do for the ocean?
Whenever i go to the beach and see trash, I would pick it up and put it where it rightfully belongs, in a trash can.
I would start for myself as well. For example, if I want to go shopping, I would bring a shopping bag that is made from fabric. It's also to not feel dependent by plastic and it's also not single use.
What is the baby step that every company shall take to continue ocean and environmental awareness?
A baby step a company should take is raising awareness within the company itself by educating their employees. Because not everybody has the same access to education, and without education, you don’t really have the knowledge to do better. So as a company, it's your responsibility to tell your staff, tell them they can do better and what steps they could implement in their daily life outside of the company. That is the first baby step that every company can take.
Any steps that we implemented in this Ocean and environmental celebration to our business?
We celebrate the environment and the ocean everyday in our business by using recycled nylon in our swimwear, which is actually made from recovered fishing nets and other ocean waste. We also educate our staff and tell them plastic is really bad for the environment. I think that’s really important because if they don't have that knowledge, they will continue to use it. And it's not really their fault because if you don't have access to this information that you don't even know that it's bad for the environment, and what options are actually there. So, we give them either cassava poly bags or we make these up-cycled bags as well, so they could use that instead of using single use plastic in their daily life. I think it's really important for a company to always start at its core by having these conversations with their team member, staff and educate them further so they could educate their children, family and their friends. This then becomes a domino effect of positivity.