Author: Svilena Velcheva

“The most difficult thing was to deal with the so-called behind the scenes. It turned out that in many kindergartens in our country secretly, without a written trace, there were recommendations from the regional health inspectorates (RHI) to the Ministry of Health, and there are still, to use disposable plastic cups. The most difficult thing for me was to deal with this behind the scenes and an invisible force, which is obviously outside the regulations”, says the coordinator of the Mission” I choose the reusable cup “Sabina Maximova. The mission, which has been trying for 4 years to introduce individual stainless steel cups for each child in the kindergartens in our country, won a gold medal in the world environmental competition BEYONDPLASTIC AWARD 2020.

The world recognition comes after 9 unsuccessful national competitions in our country.

“We looked outside for more opportunities and now the recognition has come”, Sabina said. “The tendency to reduce plastics is conquering the world and especially Europe, as a leader in these changes, and we, in Bulgaria, are struggling with an invisible power. We have over 300 inquiries regarding the mission. 100 of them are complaints from citizens, requests for help. We are trying to get away from all this behind the scenes to get to the truth that we have the right to choose a reusable cup.
Now, in the context of the Covid crisis, recommendations for the use of disposable cups and plates for restaurants are beginning to creep in again. Again, we understand that the regulations of these bodies are oral”, says Sabina Maximova and adds: the struggle is great.

Despite her happiness from the award, Sabina does not hide her bitterness about the situation in our country: “I feel like a white crow, immersed in a sea of ​​misunderstanding. The truth is that plastic is accepted as an emblem of progress, but it is actually a scourge because it has made us forget how important it is to protect and how important it is to understand the consequences of our smallest actions. If every adult thinks about what it means to throw away a non-recyclable plastic bag and leave it in nature, I think we will live in a much better world.

Sabina’s call – a civic activist, marketer, but mostly a mother – is: “Be aware! The use of plastic is one of the biggest environmental problems in the world. The hardest thing is to change the mentality that we can use something for a few seconds or minutes and throw it away without thinking about bequeathing it to generations after us. It’s unethical. Because the people who are born after us have to bear the consequences of our extravagant consumer behavior. ”

With its launch 4 years ago, the mission “I choose the reusable cup” aims to reach 13% of children in kindergartens in 5 years. Currently, the percentage of children who have replaced plastic disposable cups with stainless steel is 2.5 percent. “It is difficult to impose reusable glasses, because we do not work with glasses, but with a change in mentality, in the way of thinking, in people’s perceptions of the way they consume,” Sabina said. However, she is optimistic and hopes to reach the 13% in question within 2 years, after which the process becomes irreversible.

Read the full interview here.

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.