Accumulation of waste across the world is a clear issue, and yet not nearly enough is being done to tackle this problem. Our incredible Program Coordinator Krissy started an amazing project to minimize excess waste. Through her actions, our TESOL course participants have had the chance to actively make a difference in keeping our environment clean. At XploreAsia, we also seek to raise awareness on the issue through selling Trash Hero water bottles and offering free refills of water. Check out Krissy’s story of how she became involved with Trash Hero and the difference that the organization makes in Hua Hin, Thailand!
What is Trash Hero and what does the organization do?
Trash Hero is an organization dedicated to sustainability and waste management education within local communities. The first Trash Hero chapter started in Koh Lipe and has since grown to multiple locations throughout Thailand and abroad. They are multifaceted in what they do, and it is very easy to get involved. Their first goal is to simply clean local areas and encourage other locals to do so through leading by example. Most, if not all, chapters have a Facebook page that advertises where and when the weekly cleanups will be held.
The second is to encourage local businesses to get involved with the Bottles and Bags program. Local businesses can order stainless steel water bottles for 100 baht a bottle and sell them for 200 baht. The caveat is that they must provide a water refill station for any person who has a Trash Hero water bottle to refill for free.
The bags are another great aspect to the organization because Thailand has an interesting view when it comes to plastics. Plastic is regarded as an endless commodity with little thought to what happens once a person is done with it. Bringing a reusable bag with you to the shop will prompt funny glances, but again, it’s the ‘lead by example’ mentality that is slowly making headway.
How and when did you first become involved with Trash Hero?
I can’t remember the exact time when I started working with Trash Hero, but I know the reason. I had recently returned to Thailand after a short trip home, so probably around May 2016.
I lost my stainless steel water bottle somewhere and turned to the internet to see where to buy one in Hua Hin. The thing is, you can’t. Stainless steel water bottles are like the unicorns of Thailand, they just don’t exist. But I persisted, I typed in other locations and search words until I stumbled upon the Trash Hero website, specifically the Bottles and Bags program.
I read through the information and scoured the website to see if there was a place close by to purchase a water bottle. To my surprise, they had a chapter in Hua Hin. So I looked them up on Facebook and went to their next scheduled cleanup. The rest is history as they say.
How would you describe the impact that Trash Hero has made so far in Thailand?
Trash Hero has made a huge difference all over Thailand. Most of the chapters are in the southern parts of Thailand with one in Bangkok and another in Chiang Mai. But if these volunteers didn’t come out to pick up rubbish every week, who would? Some beachside hotels are responsible for cleaning their section of the beach, but what about the other areas that fall outside the scope of those establishments? That alone can make a huge difference. Trash Hero removes hundreds of kilos of trash from the beaches up and down the coastline and on the islands. Chapters have even started on other parts of the globe.
What differences have you made personally in your daily life and how has XploreAsia helped with your involvement in the Trash Hero cause?
I personally volunteer many Sunday afternoons to Trash Hero and help to clean the beaches here in Hua Hin. I’ve also assisted in establishing a relationship between Trash Hero and XploreAsia. Wagging Tales is now one of the businesses taking part in the Bottles and Bags program offering stainless steel water bottles to our teachers and the community.
With this expansion in sustainability mindfulness, Wagging Tales also offers lunch to participants during their course for purchase. Initially, lunch was served in single use plastic containers. I’m proud to say that Wagging Tales has since switched to serving with reusable plates and silverware. We hope to continue this relationship and have our teachers help us to spread the message of sustainability into their placement communities.
How can we get involved with Trash Hero and make a difference in helping to protect our environment?
Thank you so much Krissy for dedicating your time and resources to such an amazing cause! We truly value and appreciate the inspiring difference you are making in our community. You define leading by example, and we know that your efforts and the hard work of many others will bring about great change in keeping our environment clean.
We are always eager to discover new ways to make a difference in the community: what inspires you to make an impact in our world? Are there any local causes that you are passionate about sharing with others? How do you make a difference in your own community?