10-year-old Canadian girl pitching ban on produce stickers
She may have only been on this Earth for about a decade, but Maya Thiru is already making it her mission to care for the environment.
To further fight single-use plastic waste, 10-year-old Thiru leads the Maya Plastic Pollution Campaign, which supports: Friends of the EarthA Canadian environmental advocacy organization that aims to raise awareness about the dangers of plastic stickers on fruits and vegetables in grocery stores.
“Maya is part of the next generation of environmental activists dedicated to protecting people and the planet,” said Beatrice Olivastri, executive director of Friends of the Earth Canada, in a press release. “All of us here at Friends of the Earth Canada are inspired and excited to work with such a bright and dynamic young woman.”
As of December 2022, the single-use plastic ban regulation (SUPPR) went into effect, meaning that single-use checkout bags, cutlery, food service utensils, stir sticks and straws, as defined in the regulation, are no longer allowed in grocery stores and other establishments.
While this regulation is seen as a major victory in Canada’s efforts to reduce plastic waste, Thiru’s campaign is taking it one step further.
After visiting the grocery store with his mother, Thiru was shocked to find that every item, from avocados to apples, had a small plastic sticker on it.
These are called Price Lookup Codes (PLUs) and are intended for inventory and checkout purposes, but their impact on climate can be a consequence.
“They’re just plastics, but they’re on everything and they’re causing a lot of problems for the environment,” Thiru said in a press release.
In his campaign video, Thiru urges people to make sure those stickers end up in the trash so they don’t contaminate compost. If they end up in the compost, the PLUs end up at a composting utility, where sorting through those little stickers takes time and costs money.
Maya’s Plastic Pollution Campaign also aims to get the Canadian government’s attention and drive real change.
“During the month of March, we encourage everyone to collect their PLU stickers on our sticker sheet and give them to Parliament at the end of April,” Thiru says in the video. “The goal of this campaign is to bring awareness to PLU stickers and gain the support of our Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Stephen Guilbeau.”
PLUs are usually made of vinyl, plastic, or vinyl-coated paper that does not degrade and pollute the earth’s soil and water. the campaign says.
Because PLUs are thin and small, they are at risk of passing through screens designed to catch small non-compostable items and carry them to landfills.
This is a real concern considering Canadians already throw away more than three million tons plastic waste every year.
The stickers can also make their way through screens at wastewater treatment plants, meaning they can end up in bodies of water, putting fish and wildlife at risk of ingesting them.
Thirui the campaign takes place in March and April and asks people to sign a pledge form and collect their PLU tags.
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