As inhabitants and admirers of the pristine Cyclades, we are acutely aware of the damaging proliferation of plastic pollution. With 700kT of plastic waste being discarded each year into landfill and seas, and only 8% of it getting recycled, the toxic impacts on humans, animals, waterways, oceans, and the environment as a whole are innumerable.
The vast tourism industry which hits our islands in the summer months, coupled with a fractured public recycling system, means that there is a 26% rise in the level of waste generated in the summer.
In 2019 the European Parliament approved a new law banning single-use plastic items such as plates, cutlery, straws and cotton bud sticks by the year 2021. The CPF saw this legal pathway as an opportunity for residents and tourists on the islands to contribute to the reduction of plastic waste by:
- Reconsidering daily plastic consumption
- Incorporating plastic reduction into everyday routines
- Seeing plastic reduction as beneficial for a sustainable tourism industry
What does the project deliver in practice?
To achieve this goal of plastic reduction in a circular economy we joined forces with Nefeli Publishing House and OPUS CULTURE to create an educational children’s book and parallel educational program about the effects of plastic waste.
We know that children are the ideal starting point for initiating such new approaches. Not only are they the future guardians of the planet but are also instrumental in influencing their social environment (teachers, families, friends). So CPF channelled funds into an educational book that aimed to:
A.) Educate children on the “history” of plastic in an easy and playful way, by discussing its various uses, how these have gotten out of control and what citizens can do about it.
B.) Inform school communities of the new environmental legislation, so that they comply with EU management waste policies themselves.
C.) Encourage the adoption of new everyday habits to reduce our carbon footprints and introduce a sustainable waste consumption and management attitude through the 4R concept (refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle).
Latest Updates 2023
The Me & My Plastic project rounded off the 2022-2023 school year with a visit to Naxos island. The program was implemented in two primary schools in the villages of Filoti and Vivlos, and discusses on the local radio station.
Overall, 140 students took part in the program which was conducted over the course of 5 sessions. Both schools were well prepared for the visit, having used the educational materials that accompany the Me & My Plastic Book.
The MMP team has developed new tools for interactive educational activities suitable for outreach events for students and families, including floor games; the new outdoors activities are suitable for use at school courtyards and open air venues, such as parks, but could also be used indoors if needed and include also arts & crafts.
Having made positive waves on Naxos, the MMP project is expected to run again next academic year on even more islands. The Greek Ministry of Education’s aims to pursue more environmentally themed educational programs are in our favour, and so we hope to disseminate this project to smaller islands as well as to a few private schools in Athens.
Kanava Hotels have been instrumental partners in helping us to travel to such islands and implement this worthwhile project.
Stories from 2022 and 2021
2022 was a triumphant year for Me & My Plastic since after 2 years of online teaching, the MMP educators were able to travel to Tinos, Syros, Andros, Santorini, Naxos and deliver their program to thirteen schools in person! The program was also rolled out in two Athenian schools.
2022 also saw the MMP project being hosted by two educational centres, namely the Athens Science festival and Opus/Viliodiaplaseis. In both cases the MMP educators received huge support from students and teachers alike.
2021 was an online year for our project but we are happy to say that both educators and students remained resilient and engaged. With the help of OPUS culture and the new environmental aims of the Greek ministry of education, we managed to roll out our project to 150 students from the Elementary School of Pyrgos in Santorini and 15 students from the Primary and Elementary schools of Thirasia.
- Educational resources for teachers
- ‘Me and My Plastic’ Children’s Book