Unesco Green Citizens

Bye Bye Plastic Bags

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Project begin: 01/10/2013

How did single-use plastic bags end up being banned in Bali? It’s the story of two young Balinese girls who inspired an international youth movement when they created Bye Bye Plastic Bags.


Leading organisation: Bye Bye Plastic
The country where the team is based: Indonesia
Theme: Education for Sustainable Development, Ocean
Sub-themes: Climate change, Environment, Gender equality and women's empowerment, Knowledge sharing, Sustainable lifestyles, Waste management, Waste management
Tag: #Women #Youth
Selection: 2020/2021
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Melati and Isabel Wijsen were just 12 and 10 years old when they asked themselves what young people could do to protect the planet. With no proper waste management system on Bali, they realised that huge amounts of plastic ended up in natural ecosystems including oceans, beaches and rivers. In 2013, they founded Bye Bye Plastic Bags (BBPB), which has become one of biggest youth movement fighting plastic waste.

Showing how young people can drive change, the sisters have inspired the creation of more than 50 BBPB teams around the world. Run by young people, these teams offer different ways of getting involved, from cleaning beaches to educative workshops and communicating about single-use plastic.

Fostering sustainable development

After 6 years of campaigning by BBPB, single-use plastic bags have now been banned in Bali. Convinced that change comes from young people, the sisters are committed to raising awareness about sustainable development. They have also created a social enterprise to enable local women to produce alternative bags. Each year, they also organise the symbolic Bali’s Biggest Clean Up, which mobilises more than 60,000 people across 430 sites on the island and has collected more than 155 tons of plastic.

Bye Bye Plastic Bags is reaching more and more countries. Melati and Isabel are also launching a new project, YOUTHTOPIA, to mobilise young people through short peer-to-peer programs guided by the 17 UN SDG’s.

To keep fighting plastic pollution, BBPB is always on looking for new volunteers. Would you like to get involved?


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