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Embracing sustainability to achieve a Plastic Free future

Embracing sustainability to achieve a Plastic Free future

4 July 2024
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Plastic pollution impacts oceans, wildlife, and human health. Single-use plastics, in particular, contribute significantly to this issue, especially if we consider the fact that scientists estimate that only around 9% of all the plastic waste generated globally is recycled, around 12% is incinerated while most of our plastic waste – a whopping 79 percent – ends up in landfills or in nature1.

Raising awareness about plastic pollution is crucial, especially in office environments where the use of disposable items like water bottles, coffee cups, and packaging materials is common. By educating employees and promoting sustainable practices, offices can significantly reduce their plastic footprint, while encouraging a culture of sustainability within the workplace not only helps the environment but also fosters a sense of responsibility and community among employees.

At Fincons, commitment to sustainability is carried out through concrete actions, for example by using clean energy and reducing and monitoring corporate CO2 emissions, and through dedicated initiatives, such as planting trees for the Fincons forest in Africa and through targeted collaborations with worthy initiatives like the Plastic Free clean-ups. The intent is to transfer our values into concrete commitment on the territory, involving our people in the activities also to raise awareness with dedicated informative moments, such as the webinar recently organized together with Plastic Free.

We’ve recently had the opportunity to interview Luca De Gaetano, Founder and President of Plastic Free Onlus, discussing the journey that led him to found Plastic Free and his perspective on the future.

Plastic Free is an association that has been fighting plastic pollution since 2019 by organizing clean-up activities and awareness campaigns, thanks to a network of thousands of collaborators worldwide and clean up days organised throughout Italy, the US, the EU, Africa, India and the Philippines. To date, Plastic Free has organised 6541 clean ups and removed 3,924,991 Kg of plastic and waste from the environment.

“Plastic Free was born from a growing awareness of the harmful impacts of plastic pollution on our planet. I was born and raised in Termoli (central Italy), near the sea and I’ve always been interested in the environment: even before Plastic Free, I’ve always supported international associations focused on ocean and environmental conservation” explains De Gaetano. “One evening, I was taking a stroll near the sea after dinner – there had been a big tide that day, and all I could see was plastic. Once I got home, as if it were a sign, I kept seeing Facebook posts and videos talking about the urgency of the plastic waste crisis, that had no visibility in Italy at the time, and that is how I understood that I needed to do something and I decided to take action and created the Plastic Free Facebook page in April 2019.”

With a background in marketing consultancy, De Girolamo started ad organic campaign on Facebook to grow the page, that reached the 100k followers mark in less than two months. At the end of July 2019, the Plastic Free association, that now counts 1200 representatives in Italy and 260000 volunteers, was born.

“We collaborate with companies in different ways: from active participation in clean up days and awareness campaigns for employees, to actively help business to switch to environmentally friendly options in their offices, for example by phasing out plastic bottles and introducing purified water dispensers” continues De Gaetano.

The project also serves as a catalyst for broader environmental awareness within society. By educating employees about the impact of plastic waste and encouraging sustainable practices, Plastic Free hopes to inspire individual actions that contribute to a larger environmental benefit.

“We can’t win the battle without joining forces. Today, institutions, companies and citizens must work together towards the common goal that is reducing single-plastic use and environmental conservation.” says De Gaetano.

We’ve also asked Luca De Gaetano 3 ways each and every one of us can be more environmentally friendly in our day-to-day life:

  • Say no to single-use plastics: bring your own reusable water bottle to your work!
  • Sustainable transports: use public transport, car-sharing services or e-bikes and e-scooters
  • Make sustainable choices at the supermarket: avoid single-use plastics when doing your weekly shop

While the journey towards sustainability is ongoing, the growing interest expressed by citizens, institutions and business is promising.

"Actively involving more and more citizens allows us to make them understand how crucial every small gesture is. With greater awareness, we can change those daily habits that often unknowingly cause permanent damage to the environment. Thanks to the support and sensitivity that virtuous companies place on these issues, we can reverse a course that jeopardizes our very survival on the Planet," comments De Gaetano.

Businesses can in fact lead the way in environmental stewardship. Through thoughtful actions and a commitment to sustainability, we can contribute not only to reducing our own plastic footprint but also inspiring others to join the fight against plastic pollution.

That is why we have chosen to support Plastic Free for two consecutive years (in 2023 and 2024) and actively participate in Clean Up days, which have involved 90 Italian locations. Fincons specifically sponsored the events in Monza, where the group's Italian headquarters are located, and in Bari, the site of the Fincons Future Gateway, the company's delivery and software development center in Italy. During these days, participants gathered on beaches, in green areas, and on the streets of our cities to collect plastic waste, taking concrete action in commitment and love for the planet. During the Clean Up Day on June 8th 2024, a total of 1,120 kg of plastic waste and cigarette butts have been collected.


[1] United Nation Development Programme, Why aren’t we recycling more plastic?, November 2023

Luca De Gaetano Luca De Gaetano

Plastic Free Onlus

Founder and President