Unesco Green Citizens

Bye Bye Plastic Bags

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Project begin: 01/10/2013

When they were just 12 and 10 years old, Meliti and Isabel Wijsen, two young Balinese girls, have created one of the largest youth groups in their country against plastic pollution. Together with other members of the movement and after 6 years of campaigning, they managed to obtain a ban on single-use plastic bags in Bali. They focus on education and raising general awareness as well as collaborating with other likeminded people. They continue their work today by empowering more young people, business leaders and the government to ensure the implementation of the regulation happens.

All of Bye Bye Plastic Bags teams around the world are led by young people coming up with many unique and different ways of creating change such as beach clean-ups, educational workshops, and campaigns to empower local communities against single-use plastic.


Leading organisation: Bye Bye Plastic
Covered Countries: Indonesia
Theme: Biodiversity, Education for Sustainable Development, Oceans
Sub-themes: Climate change, Environment, Environment, Gender equality and women's empowerment, Knowledge sharing, Resources management, Sustainable living, Waste management, Waste management, Waste management
Tag: #Women #Youth
Selection: 2020
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Initial Problem

There is no proper waste management systems in place, especially in Bali, Indonesia, where the project is based and therefore they saw a huge problem of large amounts of plastic ending up in natural ecosystems, notably: the ocean, beaches, rivers and rice-fields. The amount of plastic entering the ocean will grow from 11 million metric tons to 29 million metric tons each year over the next 20 years.

The positive impacts that the project has made

Bali has implemented a ban on single-use plastic usage.

Bye Bye Plastic Bags has become a living example that kids can do things and be responsible with more than 50 global teams to prove it. 

A social enterprise was started to empower local women to produce alternative bags. 

Hosting of an annual symbolic “Bali’s Biggest Clean Up” event mobilizing close to 60.000 people over 430 locations on the island and collecting 155 tons of plastic.

The impacted areas and population

The main impacted area is Bali, where single-use plastic bags were banned. Bye Bye Plastic Bags has impacted Bali and fifty other locations around the world where their teams are based. Through their work, a lot of young people across the globe got inspired by the work of Bye Bye Plastic Bags and joined the teams present around the world. Women are also one of the impacted populations, by creating a social enterprise for them to produce alternative bags in Bali.

The obstacles and challenges

Over the last 7 years, Bye Bye Plastic Bags has come across many challenges such as funding needs and knowledge needs.

As a youth led movement, they depend a lot on volunteers. However, there is a core group that organises the logistics. They welcome any donations, expertise, and volunteers !

News & updates

3 November 2020

Join UNESCO “Youth, ESD and resilience” online workshop on 12/11/2020

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) equips young people with knowledge, skills, values and attitudes be resilient…

12 October 2020

Trash Hack Campaign

UNESCO is launching the Trash Hack campaign to encourage young people to learn…

20 October 2020

Ocean Decade: Call For Decade Actions

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