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‘How Dare You’: Israelis Use ‘Greta Shaming’ to Encourage the Use of Recyclable Plastics - Report

The use of the face of an angry Swedish teenage activist is intended to discourage Israeli employees from using disposable plates and cutlery, although it is not known whether the campaign has been successful.

Images of teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, notorious for her aggressively passionate speech on the danger of climate change to the planet’s younger generation, were placed across Israel, on water coolers and in cafeterias, in what appears to be a movement to discourage the use of disposable plastic plates and cutlery, Haaretz reported Monday.

Photos of Thunberg’s angry face displayed near disposable plastic  supplies in Israel were circulated on social media, going viral and sparking a phenomenon Haaretz dubbed “Greta shaming,” implying that a feeling of shame for using non-recyclable items will cause consumers to switch to recyclables.

​The Israeli media outlet said the pictures were discovered in their offices as well, even though Haaretz uses cutlery made of biodegradable plastic.

​Tel Aviv’s Associated Press got the arguably angriest picture, accompanied with Greta’s trademark “how dare you!” quote, the report says. Supposedly, AP staff must not “dare” to use disposable plastic forks.

​​The office of Tel Aviv cybersecurity company Siemplify has a disapproving picture of Thunberg near a supply of plastic glasses at a water cooler, accompanied with an “are you sure?” caption. Not everyone enjoyed the idea, as the picture ended up being covered by plastic glass, the report says.

​It is unclear to what extent pictures of the Swedish teenage climate activist will encourage people to change from using disposable forks and plastic glasses.

The so-called Greta-shaming movement is apparently fueled by a recent study performed by Israeli environmental organization named Adam Teva V’Din. According to their study, Israelis produce more than twice as much plastic waste per person as the global average. There are many Israelis who observe the religious tradition of kosher, and the tradition says utensils and cutlery that made contact with non-kosher food must be purged either by direct fire or by boiling water. Apparently, using disposable plastics saves companies a lot of religious headache, which contributes to Tel Aviv’s plastic waste.

This might be a major contributing factor to a general resistance amid Israeli companies against dropping the single-use plastics, even in the face of a Tel Aviv city-wide ban on disposables in public schools.

Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg looks on during a march and rally at the Youth Climate Strike in Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 1, 2019. - Sputnik International
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As a result, Israel is believed to be the third-largest contributor to plastic waste in the Mediterranean, the Haaretz report says. Thunberg, a teenager who came into the media spotlight this year after an eyebrow-raising speech before the UN General Assembly in which she castigated those in power for dragging their feet on climate change, has repeatedly been criticized for failing to provide the complex technological, social and political solutions required to mitigate the oncoming environmental disaster.

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