Three Inventive Efforts to End Plastic Pollution

white and brown concrete building nearby polluted water

Happy Earth Day 2018!

This year’s theme, End Plastic Pollution, is focused on change attitudes and actions when it comes to plastics to reduce or remove the negative impact it’s having on our marine wildlife, our bodies and our planet. Be inspired by these three stories of our young ChangeLeaders® from Taiwan, United Arab Emirates and Mexico working to reduce the use of plastics and its associated environmental pollution.
Gabriel and Zachary Su: Turning plastic bottles in toys
While they were being homeschooled in Taiwan, Gabriel and Zachary spent their days learning about the world around them and became very concerned about the environment, and in particular, the overuse of plastic bottles. They decided to take used plastic bottles and turn them into toys: Gabriel made tanks, cannons and satellites from the discarded bottles, and his brother Zachary made honey bees and ants from recycled plastic spoons and forks. To inspire and encourage more kids of any age to be creative and make their own toys instead of buying new ones, they also created step-by-step video tutorials. “This is a great way to learn problem-solving while making your favourite toys…We can make our world a better place and also have fun creating,” Gabriel acknowledges.

We don’t have to wait for scientists to save our Earth. We children can do something about it. –Gabriel Su #ChangeLeader #ChangeGen

Master Abdul Muqeet: Switching from plastic to newspaper bags
As a strong advocate of the harmful effects of plastic bags, Master Abdul came up with a unique solution to solve this problem in the United Arab Emirates (UAE): newspaper. He created and donated 7,000 paper bags using recycled newspapers. Based on his efforts, he became known as the “Paper Bag Boy.” Master Abdul also led 180 workshops to teach others how to create their own paper bags: He admits that people only start caring when they realize the ecological and health impacts on their day-to-day activities so public awareness and education is essential to the success of any waste management program. “The decomposition of plastic takes a very long time—hundreds of years—and has a major effect on our environment, ecosystem and health.” Now a committed environmentalist, he’s proud that many schools, companies and governmental bodies have since adopted this idea and have replaced plastic bags.

Plant more trees, use less water, do more recycling and do not use plastic bags. –Master Abdul Muqeet #ChangeLeader #ChangeGen

Scott Munguia: Transforming avocado seeds into bioplastics
While completing his degree in chemical engineering, Scott learned about bioplastics and wondered if he could use trash to make plastic in order to be more competitively priced with conventional petroleum-based plastics. A high school project he worked on about the chemical composition of avocados stuck out in his mind as a possible solution. Turns out, he could! Scott founded his own company, BioFase, which uses the avocado seed to produce biodegradable resins as a substitute for conventional plastics polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene. Since it is made from an agro-industrial waste—each month more than 25,000 tons of avocado seeds are thrown away in Mexico—these bioplastics can compete directly with petroleum-based plastics. Better yet, not a single avocado will be wasted.

BioFase is the largest bioplastics production company in Mexico, though they have taken it a step further and now lead the production of biodegradable plastic in Latin America, exporting their products to more than 11 countries.

About the Author

Kelly Lovell is the founder and CEO of ChangeGen. She is globally recognized for her expertise, particularly on engaging Millennials and Generation Z More