Environment & Sustainability
Plastic-Free Day wins ‘Innovation in Sustainability’ Award
By Ladye Jane Vickers, Broadreach HQ
With so many Broadreach programs taking place on or near the water, the amount of plastic that ends up in our oceans and on our beaches is a global problem that we are unfortunately all too familiar with. Our students spend hundreds of hours each summer performing beach clean ups and removing thousands of pounds of trash, most of which are single-use or short-term use plastics. It’s an issue near and dear to our hearts, and a problem for which we want to help be part of the solution.
When looking for a way to help foster the principles of environmental stewardship that our students learn on Broadreach, we were surprised to discover that a specific day designated to raise awareness about plastics and their effects on the environment did not exist. There was a day designated to going plastic bag-free and a month without plastic usage, but no single day that people could rally behind to help raise social consciousness about the sheer volume of plastic waste that saturates our daily lives. So this year on February 21, we created the world’s first International Plastic-Free Day and asked the Broadreach community to sign a pledge to go plastic-free with us for the day and to encourage their own communities to do the same. Within just a month of planning, we had over 1,200 people, 28 businesses and organizations and 11 schools in 42 different countries pledge to go plastic-free for the day. The response was overwhelming and encouraging. From students organizing local beach clean ups and hosting reusable bag workshops to restaurants removing plastic straws and lids from their services, it was so empowering to see the impact that a small community could motivate into action.
To everyone that participated and encouraged others to do so, we thank you. We’re excited to announce that the efforts of everyone who took part were recognized this past month when Broadreach was awarded the Innovation in Sustainability Award by GoAbroad for our Plastic-Free Day initiative. We’re thrilled to have the day recognized as innovative in our industry, and thank GoAbroad for the recognition!
While one day of going plastic-free is only a small step towards making a difference, it’s our hope that a single day of conscious decision making can help people make more sustainable choices in the future.
Let’s do it again next year, shall we!?