EPISODE 3: TAKING OVER
MEET THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION
Judi Wakhungu & Alice Kaudia
The women behind the world's toughest plastic bag ban
France and Kenya
Professor Judi Wangalwa Wakhungu was Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources – the first woman to be appointed to the post – when she brought in the “world's toughest law against plastic bags” with help from Environment Secretary Dr Alice A Kaudia.
The nation-wide ban they imposed was the women’s hard-fought response to a ‘national disaster of polythene addiction’. Despite facing powerful opposition from industry, and criticism for their ‘draconian’ approach (fines of up to $38,000 were introduced for anyone found in possession of a plastic bag), the law came into force in August 2017. Already it’s had powerful results – from cleaner streets and highways to healthier wildlife, reinvigoration of the sisal industry (decimated thanks to plastic’s arrival in the 1970s), the development of livelihood opportunities for women in making reusable bags, and the reduction of harmful emissions.
Judi is now living in Paris, serving as Kenya’s Ambassador to France, Portugal, Serbia & Holy See, but her and Alice’s plastic bag ban continues to have a big impact in Kenya – so much so that other east African nations are considering following suit. Next, the world?
Support Judi and Alice
Be part of the solution in your own country by refusing plastic bags whenever you shop. Carry reusable ones, and remind others to do the same!
Chelsea Briganti & Leigh Ann Tucker
Creators of LOLIWARE: game-changing bioplastics
are good enough to eat
Chelsea Briganti and Leigh Ann Tucker are award-winning industrial designers and Co-Founders of LOLIWARE – the world’s first edible bioplastic company dedicated to replacing plastic with hypercompostable, edible materials derived from seaweed. They co-founded LOLIWARE in 2014 seeking to change the world of sustainable product design and invent a solution to the global plastic crisis.
LOLIWARE’s first product was the first and only edible disposable cup. With the launch of their new innovation LOLISTRAW, the world’s first hypercompostable, edible drinking straw, the company is poised to compete with bio-based plastics that break down in the organics bin alongside food waste in 60 days or less.
Prior to launching LOLIWARE, Chelsea and Leigh Ann designed breakthrough innovations for global CPG (consumer packaged goods) companies. This experience led them to question the concept that all products should be ‘built to last’ and the status quo of manufacturing single-use items to last well beyond their useful life. LOLIWARE believes single-use products should be designed to disappear if they are to exist at all, and aspires to reintroduce sustainability as “fun-forward & ripe with experiential possibilities”. The team recently announced their ambitious plan to replace one billion plastic disposables by 2020.
Support Chelsea and Leigh Ann
Learn more on the LOLIWARE website
Founder of Zero Waste Week, reminding the world there’s no such place as ‘away’
Rachelle Strauss is founder of award-winning annual awareness campaign Zero Waste Week, which inspires and supports millions to reduce their landfill waste. She began the week-long campaign, which takes place every September, in 2008 – inspired by devastating flooding in her native UK which brought climate impacts much closer to home.
Zero Waste week helps individuals, businesses, schools and local authorities implement successful zero-waste strategies that help them save money and resources, and to do their bit for their community. The campaign has engaged millions online and signed up participants in over 80 countries, attracting media stories and coverage in documentaries, film and radio across the world along the way. Organisations ranging from Penguin Books and supermart Ocado to Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and Martin Lewis’s Money Saving Expert have also backed Zero Waste Week.
Rachelle’s mantra is “there’s no such place as away!” – reminding us that when we throw something ‘away’ it’s simply going somewhere else – a landfill site, an incinerator or a ship across the ocean. Her work is helping millions reduce their impact in pursuit of a cleaner, safer world for everyone.
Help co-create a zero-waste world by donating to keep ZWW’s important work going at https://www.zerowasteweek.co.uk/donations/
EPISODE 3: TAKING OVER
This week Mary and Maeve turn up the volume on the women who are helping us consciously-uncouple from our toxic relationship with single-use plastic, a material created to be used for mere minutes but designed to last for thousands of years.
Episode notes: This week’s Mothers of Invention are:
Judi Wakhungu and Alice Kaudia
Kenyan politicians who created global headlines when they unleashed up to $38,000 USD fines for anyone found using, making or distributing plastic bags.
American self-taught materials engineer and entrepreneur about to unleash 55bn edible straws onto the world.
British founder of #ZeroWasteWeek - a global online campaign against household waste born from one family kitchen.
British co-founder of A Plastic Planet and creator of the world’s first fully-functioning plastic-free supermarket aisle in Amsterdam.
Lead writer of ‘the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming’, Project Drawdown.
Follow the series on all social media using @mothersinvent to find out more, support the women in the series and get your hands on bonus material throughout the season.
Former plastic addict now campaigning to #TurnOffThePlasticTap
A self-confessed former plastic addict, serial entrepreneur Siân Sutherland is now tirelessly campaigning to rid supermarkets of the single-use stuff. Co-Founder of A Plastic Planet, a pro-business social impact organisation campaigning for a cultural shift away from plastic use, Sian has rallied a worldwide army of passionate people and experts to stand up for the public who want the choice to buy plastic-free.
Sian and her co-founder Frederikke Magnussen launched their campaign early in 2017, feeling they had to act on the knowledge of the impact of plastic on our oceans, our land and human health. Just a year later, the UK Prime Minister publicly backed their call for a Plastic Free Aisle in supermarkets, leading to huge media coverage and many businesses, retailers and brands joining her in her mission. In February 2018, A Plastic Planet launched its first viable, scalable Plastic Free Aisle shortly followed by their launch of the world's first Plastic Free Consumer Trust Mark. Their work has been the much-needed change accelerator within the food and drink industries; bringing future solutions to the forefront and championing those who are doing the right thing.
She may say she’s “not an environmentalist”, but Sian’s entrepreneurial and collaborative approach could have a big impact on our planet.
Lead writer of ‘the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming’ (no big deal)
Dr. Katharine Wilkinson is a bestselling author, speaker and strategist, who aims to help humanity live in ways that are better for the earth, all beings, and each other. She was lead writer for the New York Times bestseller Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming —the #1 environmental book of 2017. Katharine is now working to spread the book’s message as Vice President of Communication & Engagement at Project Drawdown, a nonprofit organisation and global coalition of scholars, scientists, entrepreneurs and advocates working to research, communicate, and advance a powerful array of solutions to climate change.
Katharine’s previous book Between God & Green explored how faith-based efforts are emerging to address global warming and was called “a vitally important, even subversive, story” by The Boston Globe. Her interdisciplinary background includes work with major universities, consultancies, and companies, and she speaks at prestigious events across the globe. Despite all this Katharine says she’s happiest up a mountain or on a horse. Help her realise her inspiring mission “to help humanity see possibility and persevere in making it real”.
Check out Project Drawdown online, where you can get a copy of the bestselling book, and explore and share the solutions to help reverse global warming.