Single use plastic cutlery turned into art by Dubai schools

As part of its commitment to reduce single use plastics in the United Arab Emirates Region, marine conservation group, Azraq recently announced a campaign specifically targeting plastic cutlery in the region, which has been turned into artwork by students in Dubai.

 The campaign, entitled #uselessutensils enabled residents to provide their leftover plastic cutlery to Freedom Pizza delivery drivers or at collection points offered by Carcluccio’s, Beitfann Studio and Lush Middle East within the United Arab Emirates between 5 May to 15 June 2019. Since then Azraq’s member schools have been busy compiling artwork from the recovered plastic utensils, which highlights the impacts of marine debris on the marine environment in readiness for a friendly competition, which will also include artwork from sustainability artist, Mariska Nell.

 “In 2016, Worldcentric.org estimated that 40 billion plastic utensils were used every year in the United States alone, the majority of which were thrown out after just one use, ending up in landfills and waterways,” Natalie Banks, Managing Director of Azraq said.

 “Plastic utensils are among the items that we find along the coastlines of the United Arab Emirates during our beach clean ups and are, like plastic straws, most of the time unnecessary.”

 The artworks have come from Repton, Gems Modern Academy and Clarion and include a turtle impacted by marine debris, dead marine life in a sea of rubbish inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Nights” piece and another piece that highlights the need to eat clean in order to save marine life, which not only used the plastic utensils, but paper plates also.

 “I am incredibly amazed by the artworks presented and I believe that the judges, which consist of our partners Freedom Pizza, Lush, Carlucio’s and Beitfann Studio will have a huge job on their hands in choosing one winner,” Ms Banks said.

 “I am looking forward to having the artworks up on display in public for the people’s vote and for the final award ceremony with the schools in mid-September.”

 “Across the globe, we all need to do our share of reducing single use plastics, which is what the #plasticfreeJuly initiative taking place worldwide is all about. Outlets have focussed on ditching the plastic straw in the UAE as part of our #stopsucking campaign we launched last year in conjunction with Freedom Pizza; this year we are urging them to ditch the plastic utensils, providing an alternative like bamboo or birchwood sets and making customers opt-in for these,” Ms Banks said.

 “Most of the time, home and work deliveries don’t need to have plastic utensils included with the order as the person has access to their own cutlery.”

 This is yet another example of Azraq’s Marine Debris campaign, which has to date focussed on cigarette butts, balloon releases and plastic straws as well as offering beach clean ups as part of corporate social responsibility for schools and corporates, illustrating how small changes can have big impacts.

 To find out further information regarding the #useless utensils campaign visit: https://azraqme.org/uselessutensils

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Photo: Clarion School (K2-5) “Eating Clean to Save the Marine”

أعلنت  مؤخراً  مجموعة الحفاظ على البيئة  "أزرق" كجزء من التزامها بالحد من استخدام البلاستيك احادي الاستخدام في الإمارات العربية المتحدة ،عن حملة تستهدف تحديداً أدوات المائدة البلاستيكية في المنطقة ، والتي تحولت إلى أعمال فنية من قبل طلاب في دبي.

 

مكّنت الحملة ، التي تحمل عنوان #uselessutensils ، السكان من توفير أدوات المائدة البلاستيكية المتبقية لسائقي توصيل فريدوم بيزا أو في نقاط التجميع التي تقدمها كارليتشيوز واستوديو بيت فن ولش الشرق الاوسط  داخل الإمارات العربية المتحدة بين 5 مايو و 15 يونيو 2019. ومنذ ذلك الحين انشغلت المدارس بتجميع الأعمال الفنية من الادوات البلاستيكية المستعادة ، والتي تسلط الضوء على آثار التلوث البحري على البيئة البحرية استعدادًا لمنافسة ودية ، والتي ستشمل أيضًا أعمالًا فنية من فنانة الاستدامة ، ماريسكا نيل.

 

"في عام 2016 ، قدرت Worldcentric.org أن 40 مليار أداة بلاستيكية تستخدم كل عام في الولايات المتحدة وحدها ، تم إلقاء معظمها بعد استخدام واحد فقط ، وينتهي بها الأمر في مدافن النفايات والمجاري المائية" ، قالت ناتالي بانكس ،مديرة أزرق.

 

  "تعتبر أدوات المائدة البلاستيكية من بين العناصر التي نجدها على طول سواحل دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة خلال عمليات تنظيف الشاطئ لدينا وهي ، مثل المصاصات البلاستيكية ، غير ضرورية في معظم الأوقات."

 

جاءت الأعمال الفنية من ريبتون وأكاديمية جيمس الحديثة وكلاريون ، وتشمل سلحفاة متأثرة بالحطام البحري والحياة البحرية الميتة في بحر من القمامة مستوحاة من قطعة "النجوم المميّزة" التي أعدها فنسنت فان جوخ وقطعة أخرى تبرز الحاجة إلى تناول الطعام بطريقة نظيفة. من أجل إنقاذ الحياة البحرية ، والتي لم تستخدم فقط الأواني البلاستيكية ، ولكن لوحات ورقة أيضا.

 

  وقالت السيدة بانكس: "إنني مندهش للغاية من الأعمال الفنية المقدمة وأعتقد أن الحكام ، الذين يتألفون من  فريدوم بيزا و لش و  كارليتشيوز و استوديو بيت فن ، سيكون لديهم مهمة ضخمة في اختيار فائز واحد".

 

"إنني أتطلع إلى عرض الأعمال الفنية في الأماكن العامة من أجل تصويت الناس ولحفل توزيع الجوائز النهائي مع المدارس في منتصف سبتمبر".

"في جميع أنحاء العالم ، نحتاج جميعًا إلى القيام بنصيبنا في تقليل استخدام الادوات البلاستيكية ذات الاستخدام الواحد ، وهو ما تدور حوله مبادرة #plasticfreeJuly التي تجري في جميع أنحاء العالم. ركزت المتاجر على التخلص من المصاصات البلاستيكية في دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة كجزء من حملة #stopsucking التي أطلقناها العام الماضي بالاشتراك مع  فريدوم بيزا ؛ هذا العام نحثهم على التخلص من ادوات المائدة البلاستيكية ، وتوفير بديل مثل مجموعات الخيزران أو خشب البتولا وجعل العملاء يشتركون في هذه الأدوات ".

 

"في معظم الوقت ، لا تحتاج توصيلات المنازل والعمل إلى أدوات بلاستيكية مشموله في الطلب نظرًا لأن الشخص لديه امكانية الوصول إلى أدوات المائدة الخاصة به."

 

هذا مثال آخر على حملة التلوث البحري في أزرق ، والتي ركزت حتى الآن على أعقاب السجائر وإطلاق البالونات والمصاصات البلاستيكيه ، بالإضافة إلى تقديم خدمات تنظيف الشاطئ كجزء من المسؤولية الاجتماعية للمدارس والشركات ، مما يوضح كيف يمكن أن تكون التغييرات الصغيرة كبيرة الآثار.

 

  لمعرفة المزيد من المعلومات حول حملة #uselessutensils  ، تفضل بزيارة: https://azraqme.org/uselessutensils

 

النهاية

 

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New campaign focuses on impacts of single use plastic cutlery

As part of its commitment to reduce single use plastics in the United Arab Emirates, marine conservation group, Azraq has announced a campaign specifically targeting plastic cutlery in the region.

 The campaign, entitled #uselessutensils enables residents to provide their leftover plastic cutlery Freedom Pizza delivery drivers or at collection points offered by Carcluccio’s, Beitfann Studio and Lush Middle East within the United Arab Emirates between 5 May to 15 June 2019, after which they will be provided to Azraq’s member schools and partner artist, Mariska Nell to turn into artwork.

 Managing Director of Azraq, Natalie Banks, stated that the schools would be competing against each other to have the most impactful artwork, utilising the plastic utensils as well as raising awareness of the concerns of plastic utensils on the marine environment.

 “In 2016, Worldcentric.org estimated that 40 billion plastic utensils were used every year in the United States alone, the majority of which were thrown out after just one use, ending up in landfills and waterways,” Ms Banks said.

 “Plastic utensils are among the items that we have found along the coastlines of the United Arab Emirates during our beach clean ups and are, like plastic straws, most of the time unnecessary.”

 Launched over Ramadan, Azraq is urging everyone to avoid unnecessary plastic for the health of both humanity and the environment and encouraging the hospitality industry in particular to reconsider their reliance on single use plastic.

 “Outlets have focussed on ditching the plastic straw in the UAE as part of our #stopsucking campaign launched last year; the year we are urging them to ditch the plastic utensils, providing an alternative like bamboo or birchwood sets and making customers opt-in for these,” Ms Banks said.

 “Most of the time, home and work deliveries don’t need to have plastic utensils included with the order as the person has access to their own cutlery.”

 This is yet another example underneath Azraq’s Marine Debris campaign, which has to date focussed on cigarette butts, balloon releases and plastic straws as well as offering beach clean ups as part of corporate social responsibility for schools and corporates, of how small changes can have big impacts.

 To find out further information regarding the #useless utensils campaign visit: https://azraqme.org/uselessutensils

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لمزيد من المعلومات يرجى الاتصال:
ناتالي بانكس ، مدير ، الأزرق +971 50 150 5851
manager@azraqme.org

 

حملة جديدة تركز على اثار ادوات المائدة احادية الاستخدام  

كجزء من التزامها بالحد من استخدام البلاستيك مرة واحدة في منطقة الإمارات العربية المتحدة ، أعلنت أزرق، مجموعه الحفاظ على البيئة البحرية، عن حملة تستهدف أدوات المائدة البلاستيكية على وجه التحديد.

تُمكّن الحملة ، التي تحمل عنوان #uselessutensils ، السكان من توفير بقايا البلاستيك سائقي توصيل توصيل Freedom Pizza أو في نقاط التجميع التي تقدمها Carcluccio’s ، استوديو Beitfann و Lush Middle East داخل دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة بين 5 مايو و 15 مايو.

في يونيو 2019 ،سوف يتم توفيرها للمدارس الأعضاء في أزرق والفنان الشريك ، ماريسكا نيل لتتحول إلى عمل فني.

صرحت مديرة أزرق ،ناتالي بانكس، بأن المدارس ستتنافس ضد بعضها البعض للحصول على أكثر الأعمال الفنية تأثيراً ، وذلك باستخدام الأدوات البلاستيكية بالإضافة إلى زيادة الوعي بمخاوف أدوات المائدة البلاستيكية على البيئة البحرية.

"في عام 2016 ، قدرت Worldcentric.org أن 40 مليار أداة مائدة بلاستيكية تستخدم كل عام في الولايات المتحدة وحدها ، تم إلقاء معظمها بعد استخدام واحد فقط ، وينتهي بها المطاف في مدافن النفايات والمجاري المائية" ، قالت السيدة بانكس.

"تعتبر أدوات المائدة البلاستيكية من بين العناصر التي وجدناها على طول سواحل دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة خلال عمليات تنظيف الشاطئ لدينا وهي ، مثل المصاصات البلاستيكية، غير ضرورية في معظم الأوقات." 

تم إطلاق مشروع أزرق خلال شهر رمضان ، وهو يحث الجميع على تجنب استخدام البلاستيك غير الضروري لصحة البشرية والبيئة وتشجيع قطاع الضيافة بشكل خاص على إعادة النظر في اعتمادهم على البلاستيك المستخدم مرة واحدة.

"ركزت منافذ البيع على التخلص من المصاصات البلاستيكية في الإمارات كجزء من حملة #stopsucking التي أطلقتها العام الماضي ؛ وقالت السيدة بانكس: "في العام الذي نحثهم فيه على التخلص من أدوات المائدة البلاستيكية ، وتوفير بديل مثل الخيزران أو خشب البتولا وجعل العملاء يشتركون في هذه الأدوات".

"في معظم الوقت ، لا تحتاج توصيلات المنازل والعمل إلى أدوات بلاستيكية متضمنة في الطلب نظرًا لأن الشخص لديه حق الوصول إلى أدوات المائدة الخاصة به." 

هذا مثال آخر تحت حملة أزرق للمخلفات البحريه  التي ركزت حتى الآن على أعقاب السجائر وإطلاق البالونات والمصاصات البلاستيكية بالإضافة إلى تقديم عمليات تنظيف الشاطئ كجزء من المسؤولية الاجتماعية للشركات للمدارس والشركات ، حول كيف يمكن للتغييرات الصغيرة أن تكون كبيرة الآثار.

Microplastic pollution ‘number one threat’ to humankind

Microplastic pollution may be having a profound impact on people’s hormones, affecting blood pressure, fertility, immune systems and causing multiple diseases including cancer.

The public has become more aware of the damage caused when plastic is dumped in the world’s oceans, especially when it breaks down into microplastic particles, and a new report called ‘The Global Plastic Calamity’, commissioned by sustainable water company Bluewater, highlights how these microplastics release thousands of hormone-disrupting chemicals.

There are more than 85,000 manufactured chemicals, of which thousands are Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) and phthalates found in plastics and other consumer products which end up in the sea.

Dr. Ivone Mirpuri, a leading hormone specialist, says that through her research and observations, chemicals in plastic have triggered rising levels of abnormal development and illnesses over the past five decades, ranging from stunted fertility and male/female sex malformations to obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart attacks and cognitive, behavioural and other brain-related problems such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity (ADH).

‘There is now solid scientific evidence that so-called endocrine disrupting chemicals, or EDC’s, now commonplace in the natural environment as a result of plastic pollution, are blocking the natural function of hormones,’ she said.

Dr. Mirpuri described EDC’s as the ‘No1 threat’ to humankind and she believes that humankind could be wiped out within 200 years unless urgent action is taken to reduce plastic pollution.

Earlier this month it was revealed that microplastics have been found in the guts of every marine mammal washed up on Britain’s shores.

Researchers from the University of Exeter and Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) examined 50 animals from 10 species of dolphins, seals and whales, and found microplastics (less than 5mm) in them all.

Most of the particles (84%) were synthetic, with a report by the Instutition of Mechanical Engineers published last year revealing that 35% of microplastics released into the world’s oceans come from synthetic textiles.

COMMUNITY HELPS TO PREVENT OVER 15,000 BALLOONS FROM BEING RELEASED

When it comes to protecting the marine environment, it truly takes a community to generate change. That’s why it was so  gratifying  to see that over 15,000 balloons were  prevented from being released in Ras Al Khaimah due to community members rallying together and informing the authorities and the organisers of the impacts of balloons on the environment.

 Since the first twelve months of its inception, community members have alerted the marine conservation organisation, Azraq, of all types of marine conservation concerns, and wherever possible Azraq has endeavoured to alert the relevant authorities of the issues which threaten the marine environment. .

 Natalie Banks, Managing Director of Azraq,  oversees various initiatives regarding marine conservation including a #balloonsblow campaign, thanked both the community and the authorities for their cooperation and timeliness in protecting the marine environment.

 “Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration asserts that ‘environmental issues are best handled with the participation of all concerned citizens,’ Ms Banks said.

 “It is encouraging to see the amount of concerned citizens and the positive response from the authorities in this particular incident, as well as a previous incident whereby the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi were contacted regarding an injured turtle.”

 In order to save marine life, it takes strength in numbers to make positive changes.

 “While protecting the environment can sometimes feel overwhelming regarding the amount of global issues the planet is facing, the concerned authorities in the United Arab Emirates genuinely care and are taking positive steps to protect the environment for future generations,” Ms Banks said.

 The step taken by the Ras Al Khaimah authorities and the organisers of the balloon release, highlights the important  role that the community has in bringing forth their concerns about the environment.

 “We are the custodians of the future and we need to understand that it is these small steps that make a difference. One doesn’t have to wait for something monumental to happen in order to act. We have the power and ability to make a difference by highlighting our concerns for what we see around us daily, and making individual changes to our own habits” Ms Banks said.

 Government organisations are also instrumental in stopping marine life and the environment from degenerating. Azraq, who has a permit from the Community Development Authority in Dubai to operate, contacted both the Ras Al Khaimah Environmental Protection Development Authority (EPDA) and the Ras Al Khaimah Waste Management Agency team with their concerns about the balloon release. The Tourism Development Authority was also informed of the matter by the Waste Management Agency.  The government agencies handled the community’s concern with extreme urgency. In fact, it was only about an hour after raising their concerns, that Azraq heard that the balloon release had been cancelled by Dr. Saif al Ghais, Executive Director of EPDA.

 This collaborative effort of the community and the government organisations is a case-in-point in what can be achieved to save the environment if all the stakeholders work together.

 To find out further information regarding the impacts of balloon releases visit: https://azraqme.org/balloonsblow

Over 55 outlets “STOP SUCKING” in the Middle East

Twelve months on from the launch of the #stopsucking initiative with Freedom Pizza and marine conservation organization Azraq, 56 entities have now signed on to reduce single use plastic straws in the Middle East (that’s more than one entity a week!)

Branching out from Dubai into Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, the #stopsucking hashtag has started popping up in the Middle East, following on from a similar campaign started in the United States.

Thirty outlets have decided not to provide plastic straws at all, instead ditching them all together or providing an alternative like stainless steel straws, paper, bamboo or pasta straws, while the other outlets have stated that they would only provide straws on request.

Marine Conservationist, Natalie Banks stated that there had become a movement that has been generated by individuals pushing back on single use plastic that is seeing outlets embrace the #stopsucking campaign.

“Single use plastic is getting a bad reputation due to the impacts these products have on the environment and we are starting to see some really innovative products come into the market as a result,” Ms Banks said.

“Alternatives such as those made from seaweed, corn starch and even wheat straws are making a trend, but a word of caution is that we must ensure that we have the adequate facilities to deal with these alternatives once they are used, otherwise we are just creating another issue.”

Cornstarch straws have been criticized for not being fully compostable without industrial composting at 60 degree heat for 90 days; a length of time most industrial composting facilities can not manage. In fact, cornstarch straws were banned from San Francisco despite their superior composting programs due to these concerns.

“As concerns with single use plastic grows, it is exciting to see some of the new initiatives, but a greater focus would be on ensuing that there are adequate waste facilities to handle the product,” Ms Banks said.

“As individuals, we can all ask ourselves if we in fact need a straw to begin with, as most of the time we don’t; it is just habit, while outlets can save money by only providing straws on request.”

To find out more about the #stopsucking campaign in the Middle East, visit https://azraqme.org/marine-debris/#stop-sucking


WHY INDUSTRY NEEDS TO LOOK AT WASTE REDUCTION

By Natalie Banks

Marine Conservationist

The rise of the zero-waste movements globally, started by individuals and industries, continues to intensify as the focus on plastic pollution also increases.

As consumers are focussing on refusing, reducing, reusing, recycling, repurposing, and refilling, industry needs to look at reinventing.

There is no doubt that sustainability is in the spotlight. More people are questioning brands on their eco-ethical practises, but progress has been slow. This is due to there not actually being a quick-fix in most situations. The beauty of plastic is a double-edged sword, being malleable, lightweight and cheap to make and transport. But the ugly side of plastic is that it lasts an extraordinary long time – most times, longer than the consumer needs it for.

Therefore a focus on the formats and the packaging of products would be the likely starting point as industry looks to embrace zero-waste, but raising awareness and offering simple solutions to deal with waste will also go a long way.

Take Rove Hotels in Dubai for example. The hotel offers bottled water to guests, but they also have a program whereby you can bring water 20 plastic bottles to their Daily Restaurants and get 50% off a meal. They haven’t yet installed a viable solution to solve water bottle waste, (though they have removed plastic straws, reduced plastic containers and offer carafes of water in their restaurants) but they are providing the opportunity to recycle these bottles through Bee’ah and to turn these bottles into mats and tubs. The hotel chain has received kudos within local media along with environmentalists and conservationists as a result.

Consumers are expecting brands to take responsibility for their waste and are attracted to manufacturers, companies and brands that not only so do, but also facilitate waste reduction processes for consumers.

With waste and single-use plastic on the top of the news agenda, consumers are concerned about the impacts on the environment, being able to take their own steps to reducing waste, saving money, inspiring others (usually through social media) and being healthy.

By reinventing, and innovating, industry can be part of the movement. Creating zero-packaged, and waste-free products will appeal to consumers with a sense of sustainability, as will assisting consumers post-purchase on packaging disposal and upcycling schemes. A focus on circularity, which allows products and/or materials to be recovered, regenerated and reused, rather than disposed of, will ensure that your products and brand avoid backlash from consumers.

While there is some exciting initiatives being bandied about to refill, reuse or repurpose products, industry must also ensure that these initiatives wont end up being more toxic for the environment in the long term. Every part of the supply chain needs to be considered from an ethical and environmental standpoint. For example, while straws made from cornstarch known as polylactic acid are generally made from less toxic resources than fossil fuels, currently most countries are unable to compost products made from PLA. In fact, one of the most advanced composting city in the world, San Francisco banned PLA straws in addition to plastic straws as they could not deal with the industrial composting requirements of 90 days and 60 degree Celsius heat in order for it to biodegrade.

Despite the zero-waste concept being at odds with the traditional luxurious image, especially for prestigious brands, the excitement of moving toward this idea is redefining what luxury means. Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics is one brand that comes to mind that has embraced this concept and brought some beautiful products into the beauty industry, with their “naked” merchanidse.

There is however a gap in the market to upcycle products. While we are starting to see an uptake of brands offering refills to their customers, there are greater opportunities for post-sale communication and awareness programs, which provide information on how new innovations, are reducing waste. Implementing a returns scheme, allowing customers to return packaging they do not wish to refill, and providing ways to refurbish products in returned packaging could ensure sustainability goals are met.

While there has been a focus on what the individual can do in terms of waste reduction, consumers are now starting to ask questions on what the industry is doing also and demanding that they be responsible for the waste that they are producing, While it may be a hard ask to suggest that industry aim for zero waste, moving towards waste reduction needs to be on the agenda, in order to meet the expectations of those purchasing your products.