Wed Dec 15th / Roy Pedersen
SUPPORTING TRASH HEROES AROUND THE WORLD
In this story, plastic is cast as the villain while 400 000 heroes from all over the globe are trying to make a difference. All-in Global are supporting their cause by donating funds as well as getting our hands dirty.
SOCIAL MARKETING INITIATIVE #3:
1.3 billion plastic bottles are used every day worldwide. 8 million pieces of plastic make their way into the oceans. Many of them wash up on the shores of Thailand – where Trash Hero was founded in 2013.
At first, Trash Hero was an eco-movement for like-minded individuals eager to do something about the local trash crisis. They organised weekly beach clean-ups and they educated people about the negative effects of waste in nature – and plastic in particular.
From Holland to Australia
Today Trash Hero is a global organisation with 162 chapters spread out in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Singapore, Cambodia, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Georgia, Switzerland, Holland, Germany, Japan, Kuwait, the United States and Australia. The local chapters are usually started by individuals who repatriate themselves with inspiration from a clean-up they attended throughout their travel experiences. As of June 2021, they organised almost 14 000 cleanups, removing more than 2 million kilos of waste from beaches and cities.
All-in Global wittnesed their work, and we have participated in several clean-ups in Koh Lanta. On this island in the Krabi region of Thailand, the work of Trash Hero had a huge impact on the local environment. In addition to clean-ups and and awareness raising, they have introduced a genius plan of getting local business to sell reusable bottles for a small profit; in return, businesses have to set up water stations where these bottles can be filled with free drinking water. If you have seen the amount of bottles and plastic being used in destinations like this, you will easily understand the outcome an initiative like this can generate. Trash Hero estimates that they prevented waste equivalent to almost 26.5 million plastic bottles.
So when we decided which 10 organisations we want to donate €1000 to, Trash Hero was one of the first ones mentioned. For this social marketing initiative we are mainly focusing on organisations that are offering education in impoverished communities – we firmly believe that education is freedom – but Trash Hero is most certainly an organisation who educates.
Seema Prabhu is the Programme Director at Trash Hero. She explains:
“At Trash Hero we simply ask people to do what they can. For most, that means being a good example to those around you: taking your reusables when shopping or buying takeout food and drink and talking to people in a non-confrontational way about why you are doing this. This is already helping to normalise the concept of zero waste. If you are in a position to do more or go further, try talking to your children’s school or a local cafe owner about reducing their use of single-use plastic – this can help to spark more systemic changes. Finally, to influence policy-makers, you could join or start a campaign group, or take part in an action like a brand audit that puts pressure on companies to reduce their plastic output.”
Can you tell us more about the weekly cleanup events, and how can we organise one in our communities?
“Clean-ups alone, we all know, are not going to solve the problem of plastic waste. But they are a fantastic way to get people involved locally and to start a conversation about what can be done to prevent the pollution at the source. They are easy to set up and fun and sociable to join and, by doing them every week, we keep those issues on the agenda and hopefully start to build trust and momentum to do more as a community to reduce waste. If you are interested in setting up your own Trash Hero chapter where you live, that’s great! Best is to read a little info on our website so you understand what would be involved, then if you’re ready to take the plunge, contact us to start the process.
Any new developments coming in the near future from Trash Hero?
“Yes, we are starting a “Trash Hero Communities” programme in the new year. This will equip our volunteers with the skills and knowledge needed to kickstart community-wide zero-waste projects that can support the lifestyle changes we are starting to see. It could be anything from creating basic waste management infrastructure where there is none, to changing an annual festival to be zero waste. We are excited about the possibilities!”
All-in Global with diversity as a success factor
As a global, multicultural, and multilingual business, diversity in the workplace is certainly our success factor. We offer equal opportunities regardless of gender, ethnicity, race, age, family status, disability, and religious or political beliefs among others, and we only employ based on competence, attitude, and experience. We believe in caring for others, and in the ‘what comes around goes around’ karma-style philosophy. You can read more about how we have followed these principles in practice here.
Watch this space in 2022 when we present the 4th organisation involved in this social marketing initiative!