In this part of the newsletter, we aim to showcase experiences that our readers can, with a bit of goodwill, try to repeat. Below we present a project called “Mind your butts!” devised by the group Marche Rifiuti Zero [Zero waste in the Marche]. This is an educational programme aimed at 16-18 year olds. Let’s see what they have to say.”The aim of the project is to raise awareness among young people of the global environmental crisis and impress on them the need to participate in resolving it in an active and informed way, in order to improve the health of the Earth and its inhabitants. This involves a vision of the environment as a common good which must be taken care of and the development of initiatives around the theme of environmental protection. One of the practical aims is to carry out campaigns to raise awareness of good practices that help reduce plastic and protect the seas.
We put forward a message to educate people against throwing away cigarette butts in the open, a practice that is unfortunately very widespread as our clean ups show (we intend to involve young people in one of these events) while at the same time removing from the waste disposal system items that cannot otherwise be recycled.”
So what does the project consist of in practice?
The young volunteers transform items destined to be thrown away by making them into new items with a different purpose. In this case, glasses cases that are no longer used by the firm that produces them are transformed into containers for cigarette butts. Once decorated with stickers and the slogan “Mind your butts!” the cases are given out free in parks, gardens and other public places by the same young volunteers. Giving new purpose to glasses cases is an excellent way of extending their useful life while at the same time reducing the number of cigarette ends that accumulate in the ground and on paved surfaces, creating a disposal problem.
The project achieves a number of different aims at the same time, for the young people involved as well as for smokers and above all, perhaps, for the local authorities. It is no coincidence that this project has been set up in the Marche, where a dozen or so committees and groups have set up and presented the Environmental Sustainability Pact [Patto per la Sostenibilità Ambientale]. The document puts forward a 12-point plan for bringing about environmental change in the region, especially with regard to the soil, water, air and of course the waste cycle.
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