No plastic straws!
Plastic straws: we use them for a few minutes, then throw them away without attention.
A small amount of straws tossed away by each single person turn into massive quantities on a bigger scale: every year, around 36 billion plastic straws are discarded in Europe (Seas at Risk, 2017).
Rarely recycled, most end up in the environment. Plastic straws belong to the top 10 contributors to marine pollution on European beaches and are to be banned from the EU market by 2021 (European Commission, 2019).
In summer 2019, the Plastic Switch Initiative was touring around bars in Luxembourg to ask them to help us inspire change already today. We were happy to hear that many bars already stopped serving plastic straws and others were eager to change to alternatives (biodegradable, bamboo, glass, paper, steel or edible straws) in the future.
At your next event, take a look around: most items are made of plastic. From coffee cups to forks, from bottles to plates. These items are generally used for a few minutes, then thrown away.
Our Initiative helps companies and institutions replace plastic items during their events, with sustainable alternatives. Cost-benefits are attractive and tangible: our analysis has shown that investing in sustainability brings environmental as well as financial benefits.
To inspire and support change, the University of Luxembourg Incubator decided to reduce its plastic consumption at the 4th IDEATION CAMP, held from the 6th to the 9th March 2019. During a four-day mentoring program, students had the possibility to define their entrepreneurial paths and clarify their start-up objectives. In order to reduce its plastic footprint, the Incubator asked the PlasticSwitch Initiative for support.
We identified many alternative solutions to the plastic items used in previous camps and made a switch to sustainables together.
PlasticSwitch also launched a plastic survey on the University’s Facebook page. The goal was to understand the concerns and needs regarding plastics, and understand how we can best add value.
Lectures and workshops in schools
Our generation grew up in the plastic age. It is important that the next generation is better informed about the impacts of our consumption habits, than we were.
Awareness, understanding and concerns of the younger generation about environmental issues are omnipresent. In order to embrace this curiosity and enthusiasm for knowledge, the PlasticSwitch Initiative was happy to be invited to the European School Luxembourg II in Mamer during the sustainable week in May 2019, for a lecture and an interactive debate about plastic with students.
4 (of 8) University team members including
Ricky Braun, Aida May, Judith Peters, Julie Brohée
"Plastic Audit 2017"University Project: Practical case study in a company
We believe that companies play an important role in changing people’s plastic behavior. That is why, our University team of 8 peers developed a corporate methodology to help companies optimize their plastic management in 2017, as part of an academic project.
The emphasis on the commercial sector was based on the idea that new knowledge and behavioural changes introduced within a company would also inspire its employees. They would take these new plastic-free habits home and therewith increase the positive impact of reducing plastic.
We invented a “Plastic Audit” that we implemented with a major insurance company in Luxembourg. We analysed their in-house consumption of plastics and involved their employees through a ‘plastic survey’ and a design-thinking workshop. Together, we identified creative ideas and sustainable plastic practices for the company. Our comprehensive report summarized all these personalised and adapted solutions to reduce, reuse and recycle plastics at corporate level and gave recommendations.