Islands take the lead in a plastic waste-free system

Summary
In search of disruptive innovations that contribute to plastic waste-free islands
Islands take the lead in a plastic waste-free system
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Searious Business wants to prevent plastic pollution by starting with businesses. The goal is zero plastic entering our ocean. Together with IUCN, Plastic Waste-Free Islands was launched. The aim is to make participating islands virtually plastic waste-free in two years’ time. An opportunity for large companies to test disruptive innovations.

To reach systemic change, effective strategies are developed in collaboration with the island nations of St Lucia, Antigua & Barbuda, Grenada, Fiji, Vanuatu and Samoa. In order for the changes to have a major impact, an action plan is made with local fisheries, tourism sector, waste processing companies and representatives of governments. Eventually plastic waste needs to be reduced by 80%. But why islands? CEO Willemijn Peeters explains that islands represent a closed economy on a small scale. The effects of systemic changes can clearly be traced. This knowledge and best practices create a blueprint for other islands, and can also be applied to the mainland later on.

The International Tourism Plastic Pledge fits the Plastic Waste-Free Islands initiative perfectly. Islands attract a lot of tourists because of their spectacular beaches and pristine seas. All these tourists need to drink and eat, which is all imported in packages. However, there is often insufficient waste infrastructure and no space. Typically, on islands, a shocking 90% of plastics ends up in the environment.

At the same time, this initiative is a playground for large companies that want to test disruptive innovations. On the island you can track the results perfectly. Not only is there a chance to test new technologies and new packaging of products, companies can also contribute to the blueprint for the following islands and maybe even the mainland.  Therefore, Peeters invites companies to take action.

Do you have disruptive innovations that you would like to assess?

Searious Business consists of a dedicated team of enthusiastic and committed employees. All the projects must achieve a certain impact and are thus frequently measured. Great impacts are celebrated. Peeters mentions that she is proud of her team and her clients. “The circular economy isn’t for everyone, you need guts and courage as an entrepreneur. At the moment, the current economic system doesn’t encourage change to a circular economy, but that doesn’t keep our clients from wanting to make a difference. While running an innovation project with a client, I can really experience that commitment, which sometimes even gives me goose bumps’’.

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