The “Plastic free Zlarin” initiative started in summer 2018, run by La Révolution Albatros association and with strong local community support. Its aim was to make Zlarin the first single-use plastic free island in Croatia and to inspire other communities to undertake the necessary changes leading to a more sustainable life.
As well as restricting the use of single-use plastic on the island (two years ahead of the deadline set by the European Disposable Plastic Directive), other aims of the initiative are to promote composting, a low waste lifestyle and generally raise awareness about our waste footprint, plastic pollution, biodiversity and sustainable living.
During summer 2019 ~162.000 single use plastic items were saved in total (based on numbers provided from the previous summer). The initiative received a great deal of media attention, which created unprecedented visibility for such a small island and its community. According to media analyses, the total AVE of all media coverage obtained from October 2018 to August 2019 amounted to almost 2M eurosand the reach was over 37M people. That helped the initiative to reach far and wide beyond Zlarin, inspiring and motivating many others to undertake similar challenges.
We spoke at several international conferences and received five awards - from the Croatian Tourist Board, Croatian Travel agencies association and the French-based NGO SMILO “Sustainable Island, in progress” waste management label, from National Geographic Croatia and The Good Lobby in Bruxelles. The initiative gained further exposure through two events - the Croatian president presented Zlarin as an example of good practice at the United Nations General Assembly in September and Ana Robb based her TEDx talk on the journey which led to “Plastic free Zlarin”.
The team implemented the entire initiative and still works on a volunteer-based model.