In a bold move to raise awareness about the devastating impact of single-use plastic on our planet, Aussie zero-waste startup, Zero Co, built the world’s largest plastic waste pyramid in the Egyptian desert. Using one million water bottles’ worth of rubbish collected from the Nile River, the pyramid stands as a symbol of the beginning of a movement called the 100YR CLEANUP.
The 100YR CLEANUP is an initiative that aims to fund large-scale rubbish clean-ups and pull 15 million water bottles worth of rubbish out of the natural environment every year, for the next 100 years. The pyramid was built on the 3rd of November 2022, just ahead of the global climate summit, COP27, in the hopes of capturing the world’s attention.
Mike Smith, Zero Co’s founder, camped on top of the pyramid for three days to raise funds for future cleanups by asking the public to sponsor a bundle of rubbish (for $20, $50, or $100) from the 100YR CLEANUP website. The stunt was a resounding success, with Zero Co raising $267,608 so far, which is a quarter of their annual goal of $1,000,000.
Zero Co is also calling on industry peers and companies around the world to unite against single-use plastic and support the 100YR CLEANUP by contributing a small part of their business funds towards the initiative. Founding partners of the movement include The Hidden Sea and Skip Foundation, who have each contributed $50,000.
“We want to put the plastic problem on the environmental agenda,” says Mike Smith. “We know we can’t do this alone, so we need to get everyone involved. By working together with businesses, industry leaders, and inviting the public to take direct action, we’ll be able to build a scalable solution to the problem and have a huge impact.”
With support from both the public and partner businesses, Zero Co is well on its way to achieving its goal. The Nile River cleanup event was in partnership with VeryNile, an organisation based in Cairo that cleans up the banks of the Nile and interlaces social and environmental impact to remove inorganic waste from the river. The plastic waste pyramid was built in collaboration with VeryNile and Egyptian Artist Bahia Shehab and took five days to build.
Zero Co continues to invite businesses to support the 100YR CLEANUP and contribute to future cleanups around the world, including plans for an underwater cleanup in Australia and untrashing “the roof of the world” in the Himalayas. With sufficient funding, the team hopes to be able to build full-time teams in South-East-Asia and Australia cleaning the planet five days a week, every week, every year, for the next 100 years.
Zero Co is on a mission to untrash the planet by stopping the production of single-use plastic and cleaning up rubbish from oceans, rivers, mountains, deserts, and wilderness areas around the world. They use this rubbish to make zero waste and single-use plastic-free packaging for body care and home-cleaning products, made to refill and last a lifetime.
The 100YR CLEANUP is a bold and audacious move to tackle the plastic waste crisis that plagues our planet. With support from businesses and the public, Zero Co is well on its way to making a significant impact on the environment and securing a future for generations to come. So, what are you waiting for? Join the movement and help untrash the planet.