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Changes in the Middle East!

Shannon Craine

They say that the world is an open book and unless you’ve travelled (outside your own country I guess?) that you’ve only read one page.

This statement was what popped into my head as I recently drove alongside a fresh water river in Cairo, Egypt on our way to experience some of the most iconic ancient history in the world.

I’m not saying that I haven’t travelled before that, I have and I’ve seen lots of different cultures and countries, but there is nothing to prepare you for the waste that lines the streets and river beds of Cairo.

Egypt is home to 97.55 Million people, and Cairo is packed with 9.5 million of them, that’s almost half of the whole Australian population just in one city, and it was very apparent that either their waste management systems couldn’t keep up with the volume of waste, or perhaps they just didn’t have any waste management systems or infrastructure in place.

I’m sure you’ve seen videos or photos, or possibly even witnessed in real life other places that are covered in a blanket of plastic, I’ve seen a few also but I’ve never seen it like in Cairo. It took my breath away, it shook me hard and it sure as hell saddened me. I sat there in the car thinking, what the F*** have we done and how the hell will we ever fix this? Are we not educating the right people in the right countries? Are we not sending a big enough message? If we can raise a BILLION dollars to repair a church, isn’t there enough small change to throw around to educate and clean up these cities? Or do people actually not care?

There’s no point blaming anyone - the manufacturers, the brands, the governments, the retailers, the consumers; we are all to blame. The human race did this and we all have to change or we are going to live, breathe and swim in plastic.

We started #IMNOTPLASTICCO in the hope that our eco-straws would make even the slightest difference, even just to spread awareness, or to plant a seed of a thought in the mind of the person chugging down their drink - maybe they will be more mindful, maybe they will take more notice of what sort of packaging they are being served with, maybe they’ll say no to using conventional plastics, maybe they will start a home composting system. Maybe they’ll spread the message?

....and then last week #IMNOTPLASTICCO proudly spent Monday sending thousands of our plant-based eco-straws to the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman in the Middle East. As you could imagine, this sure as hell set our souls on fire, it gave us hope and it made us think maybe we can all do this 💚

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