The Next Saviors Of The World – The Bottle Caps
Dara Sapundzhieva, a student at the American College of Sofia, draws our attention to one of the biggest problems nowadays – the plastic pollution. Check out her story about an initiative for collecting and recycling bottle caps for the sake of the environment and the life of premature babies.
Today, one of the biggest enemies of the world is the plastic pollution. One million plastic bottles are produced per minute around the world right now and according to National Geographic’s statistics, 91% of all plastic is not able to be recycled. The solution of the problem was figured out by two young and ambitious Bulgarians whom mission is by making small steps to motivate people to recycle the unwanted plastic and save someone’s life, for instance, the life of premature babies.
“Bottle Caps for Future” is a campaign set up by Lazar Radkov and Martina Iordanova two years ago and their goal is to collect as much bottle caps as possible in order to buy new incubators and later to donate them in hospitals in small towns all around Bulgaria.
Unfortunately, Bulgarians do not have the habit to recycle (according to Recycling Rates in Europe) which is sad, because they hold the solution of the problem in their hands every single day – the plastic bottles and especially their caps. The reason why Lazar Radkov and Martina Iordanova focus on caps was that the material which the caps are made from is the best recyclable part of the whole bottle. The bottle and the caps are made from different plastic compounds and this is the reason why they cannot be recycled together. It is proven that the small size of the bottle caps gives better results, because, firstly, it’s easier to collect and transport one or ten caps in your pocket than one or ten bottles. Secondly, the density of the caps themselves is bigger than the density of the bottles which means that the plastic recycle machines have more material to process.
“Bottle Caps for Future” is one of the most fast spreading campaigns among Bulgaria and up to now 140 000 tons of plastics caps were collected. ”During one of Lazar’s joggings in the South Park, we were talking about how to create some additional activity for the people while they were doing sport – like collecting bottle caps. And as you see, now we are not the small social group that we had planned to be”, says Martina Iordanova in an interview for “The People of Plovdiv”.
“The campaign became popular, because people are more likely to participate in voluntary activities which result can be seen by everyone and to see that premature babies have a new chance to live is more than satisfying. And I’m going to continue to take part in every single campaign as until now”, says Desislava Nikolova, an active participant.
The idea of helping the newborns is supported by more and more people. The campaign takes place every six months and up to now they were four big meeting of collecting bottle caps, but if you are not able to keep the bottle caps at home, there are collecting stations in some cities and towns. An interesting fact is that each meeting collects bottle caps double the amount of the previous one, but the biggest achievement was during the last one – the fourth meeting collected as much caps as all previous three! This is a positive sign that Bulgarians break their bad habit of not recycling. Also, “people are proud of their help and they want to share their feelings and experiences with others through the social media, which helps the campaign to spread even more”, adds Desislava Nikolova. The first meeting took place in Sofia, but now the idea goes out of the capital and more big and small cities want to take part.
The campaign is very popular among children and students. From the beginning of “Bottle Caps for Future”, schools and kindergartens collect bottle caps every day. This way, students are taught about the importance of recycling. Furthermore, at the same time, they are motivated to help the newborns. Additionally, this is a good example of how to bring up the children and it shows to them that recycling is not such a hard activity to do. The whole process of collecting bottle caps creates a totally new habit in the young generation.
“Bottle Caps for Future” comes off uniting one nation for one good cause. The campaign “kills two birds with one stone” because Bulgarians start to recycle more and cut back on the plastic pollution, and at the same time, many lives are saved. In conclusion, one campaign can do a lot without lots of money, but with the help of the volunteers. And we can save not only the life of newborns, but the life of the whole planet. “Everyone can make something small. To take the trash from the ground and throw it into the trash bin is a small step. If there are many people who do it, these small steps can change the world”, says Lazar Radkov in interview for the “Slavi’s Show”.