Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions? When setting goals, we often focus on improving ourselves (“I’m going to be more active!” or “I’m going to learn to cook healthier meals!”). But imagine if we all resolved to take action to improve the planet?
That’s the kind of massive change the #kids2030 Challenge aims to drive. The annual #kids2030 Challenge is a global call to young people to find innovative ways to reduce plastic pollution in their homes, schools, and communities. This year, the Challenge focuses on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #12: Responsible Consumption and Production. This goal is all about using the Earth’s resources in a safe and sustainable way.
Inspired by the #kids2030 Challenge, people across the KCJ community set a goal to reduce their own plastic consumption. Now that we’re a few weeks into the new year, we checked in with them to hear how it’s been going.
After completing the #kids2030 Challenge, 10 year old Maria started thinking of ways she and her family could produce less plastic waste in their home. “I saw that pretty much everything is now made of plastic”, she told us.
“Everywhere I looked in my kitchen, I saw plastic. I decided to take action and reduce the amount of plastic in our kitchen!”
We’re happy to report that her mission is going well so far.
“I am planting all my own food so we don't need to go to the store and get food wrapped in plastic. I also made my own candied ginger - we will never have to buy it in a plastic container again!”
Maria making a batch of DIY candied ginger.
Maria did encounter a few stumbling blocks though:
“I was surprised about how much plastic we use in our everyday lives! Our vegetable peeler is made of plastic, the plastic container I am growing our strawberries in is plastic... it was just hard to get away from it.”
Maria peeling and chopping ginger.
To encourage other kids to reduce plastic waste in their kitchens, Maria has created her own website to share her journey, complete with tips and recipes.
Next, we checked in with Phil, KCJ’s Web Services Manager. Phil explained how his love for thrifting comes in handy when minimizing waste in his wardrobe.
“We always made an effort in our family to buy second hand. Much of what can be found in my home is either hand-me-downs or acquired second hand.”
When considering all of the plastic you use in a day, you might not think about your clothes. But materials like polyester, nylon, and acrylic all contain plastic.
“As I learn about just how much of our modern clothes are made of plastic - as high as 60% ! - I’m making a conscious effort to acquire only items made of natural materials such as cotton and wool.”
A sample of Phil’s thrifted vest collection
Before simply buying something brand new, Phil encourages everyone to take a moment to reflect.
“Since plastic has only been around for a little over a hundred years, a question I often like to ask is, ‘so what did we use before that’? Being curious can open the historical doors to all sorts of interesting discoveries. It can reveal things beyond just the plastic problem, things about our behavior and values and, ultimately, the issue of consumption and waste.”
Of course, reducing plastic waste isn’t the only reason Phil opts for natural fibers:
“Honestly, I love the feeling of cotton!”
Finally, we asked Becca, KCJ’s Community Developer on PEI, what changes she’s making at home. Like Phil, she focused on her clothing and gave her laundry routine a plastic-free makeover.
“I'm trying to reduce the ‘recyclable’ plastics found in everyday life like laundry detergent jugs. I'm choosing to buy no-plastic products such as laundry detergent strips and cardboard cartons or take my containers to our new ‘Zero Waste’ store where I can refill liquid products.”
Becca uses detergent strips without plastic packaging for her laundry.
Becca admits that making this kind of change isn’t always easy or convenient.
“These products aren't always accessible in general grocery stores so it involves extra trips or planning ahead to figure out where to go.”
But for Becca, it’s worth the effort.
“When I found out that very little of our 'recyclable' products end up being recycled, I decided it's better to avoid using these products, since I can't be sure where they will end up.”
When making a big change like this, Becca reminded us it’s okay to take it slow.
“Start by switching just one plastic product and see how easy it sticks. Start small and notice what changes are most accessible to you!”
Did any of these solutions inspire you to start reducing your plastic consumption? Take the #kids2030 Challenge and tell us about it!
Some more ideas submitted to the #kids2030 Challenge.
Submitted by Bianca
Submitted by Jeffrey
Submitted by Willow
We want to extend a huge thank you to Amazon Future Engineer, the Founding Partner of the #kids2030 Challenge, and to our other partners for making the Challenge possible: CanCode, Ubisoft Education, CIRA, SAP, and DRW. Thank you also to our supporters who continue to spread the word about the Challenge and offer their own resources to help kids and grown ups learn more about environmental sustainability: Closed Loop Partners, Code.org, Exploring By The Seat Of Your Pants, InkSmith, Micro:bit Educational Foundation, and Ocean School.
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