Author: Svilena Velcheva

Mission “I choose the reusable cup” received a “gold medal” in the world eco-race 2020 BEYONDPLASTIC AWARD. The campaign for replacement of plastic water cups in kindergartens in our country was awarded in the category “Best initiative in education”. The mission started 4 years ago on the idea of ​​Sabina Maximova from Varna, who aims to end the vicious practice of children in kindergartens to drink water from disposable plastic cups. The idea is to replace the disposable plastic cups with stainless steel ones, on which is engraved a picture different for each child. She started from the school that her daughters attend. Thus, the Winnie the Pooh kindergarten in Varna became the first to join the mission.

The initiative is supported by the Varna Association Public Environmental Center for Sustainable Development. And it already involves 4,300 children from 64 kindergartens across the country. In less than 4 years, thanks to the participants, more than 8 million disposable cups, equivalent to nearly 22 tons of non-recyclable plastic, have not been dumped in nature. In purely economic aspect, the budget of households in our country saved over BGN 200,000 for the purchase of disposable cups, and the environment – nearly 66 tons of carbon dioxide.

The world recognition for the Bulgarian eco-initiative comes at a time when we are witnessing a mass penetration of disposable containers in public catering establishments in our country because of Covid-19. “Instead of encouraging the use of plastic plates and utensils, which is neither environmentally friendly nor healthy, we should increase the control over the hygiene of reusable dishes,” said Ilian Iliev of the Public Environmental Center for Sustainable Development.

The international competition 2020 BEYONDPLASTIC AWARD is organized by Beyondplastic.net – a global initiative dedicated to reducing the use of disposable plastic products. The initiative started in 2019 on the idea of ​​Ulrich Krzyminski – entrepreneur, engineer and inventor in the field of industrial design. It is gradually growing as an independent online platform for environmentalists, packaging designers and engineers from around the world who share environmentally responsible solutions for replacing plastic packaging. They are united under the motto: “Let’s work together for a world with less plastic!”.

2020 BEYONDPLASTIC AWARD recognizes the best environmental initiatives in four areas. For the “most practical solution to reduce the use of plastics” was awarded the Brazilian initiative “Unpack less, whites more” – colored packaging of biocellulose, which contains natural pigments such as hibiscus, spirulina, saffron, charcoal. For the “Most Innovative Approach” a gold medal was awarded to Great Britain – for a packing bag for courier shipments made of natural material, which decomposes with hot water. German “inventors” of “marble” from eggshells and nuts were awarded for “Most Aesthetic Solution”. The biomaterial is used for interior design, jewelry design and other goods. In the category”Best Initiative in Education / Journalism / Publicity” were awarded two first prizes. In addition to “I choose the reusable cup”, the prize is also awarded to U-Retain – an environmental educational initiative from Lusaka, Zambia, which is very similar to the Bulgarian one for donating caps. In this case, waste plastic is collected and handed over for recycling, and the funds are used for education, as well as to purchase food and hygiene products for street children.

Bronze and silver medalists were also awarded in each category. The total prize fund of the competition, which will be shared by the winners, is 7,000 euros.

Translator: Valentina Vagge

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Improving public knowledge about the role of Civil Society Organizations

The project “Improving public knowledge about the role of Civil Society Organizations” shall be implemented with the financial support of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway under the EEA Financial Mechanism. The main goal of the project is to improve citizens’ awareness of the role of non-governmental organizations in society. This material is established with the financial support of the Active Citizens Fund of Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area. The whole responsibility for the content of the document is held by the Public Environmental Center for Sustainable Development and under no circumstances can this material be considered to reflect the official opinion of the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area and the Active Citizens Fund of Bulgaria.