Plastic free July in Art Park Zagreb

As a member of worldwide movement “Break Free From Plastic”, Zelena akcija / Friends of the Earth Croatia / Zero Waste Croatia Network is organizing “Plastic Free July”. Activities are happening throughout July, 2020, starting on the 3rd of July marking The International Plastic Bag Free Day. Raising awareness activity involving the public was held on 15th of July as an event in collaboration with the Art Part project at park Ribnjak in Zagreb.

The aim of the event was to bring to attention the current state of plastic pollution, devastating effect of plastic production on climate crisis and the omnipresence of plastics in general; from microplastics discovered in the soil, water, air to the food we eat.  One of the important parts of tackling plastic pollution is finding a good, reusable alternative. We strive to nourish the reuse culture and creative thinking and actively promote these values as parts of the strategy in fighting plastic pollution. 

Therefore, we have offered 3 different activities as part of the public event.

19:00 h -  Creative DIY workshop - up-cycling SUP products

Organized by REuse collective of Zelena akcija / FoE Croatia, aimed to educate interested citizens about the current state of recycling on the global and EU market, emphasizing the fact that while prevention / reduction  of single-use plastics usage is necessary on the first level of hierarchy, it’s important not to rely on recycling as a solution as in most cases plastics from Croatia is being exported and consequently being burnt. Aim was to introduce upcycling as an individual practice that could help us to prevent mass pressure on the waste management system, but also teach us about the reuse culture. In the 1 hour of a workshop, around 10 participants were learning how to make cup holders from the used plastic bags.

20:30 h - Performance “Plastic dinner” - Homo plasticus

By the end of the workshop, another part of Zelena akcija / FoE Croatia’s team started with the first part of public performance which was organized with the help of Anita Kontrec, an artist coming from Zagreb. The performance started in a form of a cortege, where all the attendants were completely under disguise having their bodies wrapped in plastic folium, altogether tied together with sort of a string that was carrying disposed plastic packaging (mainly water bottle companies), but also some fruits and vegetables wrapped in plastic. Everything was followed by a spooky artificial sound presenting the sound of “the age of plastic” played on the synth instrument by the companion of the cortege. A companion was a musician wearing a costume (a hat and oversized sunglasses) with a Break Free From Plastic canvas bag on his back. Attendants of the cortage were presenting characters we named “homo plasticus”, presenting a dystopian image of the future of humankind if we keep on producing single-use plastics.  Faceless characters wrapped up in plastics had a walk from Frankopanska 1 in Zagreb up until the Art Park at Ribnjak, which was around 45 minutes of a performance before reaching the park. 

In the park, there was a table under the spotlight awaiting for one part of the cortage to arrive and sit around the table throwing ropes together with pieces of food and plastic packaging on the table. Homo plasticus characters sat and started to search for pieces of food among an endless amount of plastic packaging. When they would find an edible piece, they would first unwrap it, then tear the pieces of folium around their mouth and eat the food in a grotesque way. 

After some time, they froze in the scene of complete despair and dropped down on the table.

Everything was imagined as a contrast and a mixture between collaboration and competitiveness. In the end, Break Free From Plastic banner was dropped in front of the scene while characters were literally “breaking free” from the packaging showing their faces sweaty bodies and faces that were hiding underneath. The symbolism behind the sweat was that it’s the image of our future if we keep producing plastic and by any chance survive; searching for few pieces of food among endless amounts of plastics and sweating as a result of the accelerated climate crisis.

The performance was quite successful and reactions of people were quite positive, even though they felt disturbed. 

After the performance, there was a prize game where participants could have won a Break Free From Plastic canvas bag and bottles made out of recycled glass if they would have wrote a few sentences on the topic: My plans for reducing my personal impact on plastic pollution. Winners were chosen randomly and 10 people have won the prize.

21:15 h - Screening of “The Story of Plastic”

After the performance, screening of  the movie “The Story of Plastic” took place in the open air screen at the park, explaining the context of the event and telling the story about Break Free From Plastic Movement. 


16.07.20. 17:24