Sisters Melati and Isabel Wijsen started “Bye Bye Plastic Bags” (BBPB) in 2013 as an environmental protection project driven by young people. They are determined to reduce the pollution caused by waste disposal in Bali. It started out as an idea at home, and today it has become a global movement. With a team of 25 students from local and international schools around Bali, BBPB has four main pillars of focus.
The first one is education, and they have spoken to more than 16,000 students in 12 different countries and eight different languages, creating and distributing an educational booklet about the ocean, marine debris, climate change and sustainable development goals. Education is a huge passion for them. “We believe that through education you can raise an entire generation of change-makers,” say Melati and Isabel. “The generation today is ready to be a part of the solution—and they are also very motivated, passionate, and willing.”
Alongside this, the Wijsen sisters also have another campaign called “One Island One Voice”: an outreach programme to all the retailers in Bali who are free from plastic bags, allowing them to be rewarded with a publication on BBPB’s social media. They also run a Pilot Village—testing village to see how a place reacts to becoming plastic bag-free, where they distribute a set of three bags to 800 local families and 200 alternative bags to local shops.
Last but not least, they have a “Going Global” programme and you can now find BBPB in nine different countries around the world. Melati and Isabel, who recently scored a win “Our Earth” at the prestigious 69th Bambi Awards in Berlin, Germany, are on a mission to free Bali from plastic bags by 2018.