Zero Plastic

Empowering youth to save our earth with their voice of passion, body of action, and mind of determination!

Photo of Brianna Gibson
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Website or social media url(s) (optional): Instagram : @zeroplasticofficial

Date Started


Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..." We are having technical difficulties adding the video so there is the link.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Soon the world will be covered, consumed, and MADE of plastic. ’“In 2017, 300 million tons of plastic was produced worldwide, and only 10% of it was recycled …. In the US alone, 35 billion plastic bottles are thrown away every year.” So what’s the problem with so much plastic being produced and disposed of? Well it’s harming our environment, our animals, and our planet and the worst part? A lot of our younger generation is unaware.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

A presentation has to be interactive; a presentation has to have pizzazz in order for a student to want to pay attention. Our new presentation has statistics, questions for the audience, and a fun challenge. We start off by having the students close their eyes and raise their hands for simple questions such as: Have you ever walked by trash and left it there? Have you ever seen a pet or an animal try to eat trash? Have you ever thrown a recyclable item in the trash? Then we show pictures of what is currently happening to marine life because of the pollution, followed by a Ted Talk that explains bioaccumulation. We then ask them if they would like to see a change. Most of the time they say they do, and when they say so we present them with a challenge. The first challenge we tried doing was to give a prize to the student that collected the most amount of recyclable items and turned it in to Zero Plastic by April 27th. Whoever won was promised a 20 dollar gift card and a free Zero Plastic t-shirt. Nobody showed any interest and we failed to see any visible change in these students’ daily habits having to do with reducing plastic waste.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

We must admit, we were all struggling at one point in this project thinking of ways we can impact kids. We couldn’t think of a fun way to display the dangers of plastic. But after multiple days stuck in creative block, we came to the idea of giving presentations! It was the perfect way to display and inform them in a fun and creative way. We recently had an event where we got to hang out at a lagoon with all the kids we presented to. This not only gave us the chance to grow closer with them but we also got to interview some of them. Out of the 10 kids we interviewed all of them said we impacted there life’s in a positive way! From kids saying they chose to do a community service because of us to some saying they are changing their lifestyles and using less plastic! Overall we would say that we not only got our message to them but have started making a bigger impact on the world!

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

We are students trying to inspire other students (1st grade-8th grade) to care not only more about their environment but the destruction that is happening to it. We believe that the only way to change our futures habit we must start with the root of what is to be our future. In future years we plan to implement our ambassador program which allow students to get involved in this movement and get volunteer hours which is very valuable. The program will help us to expand our outreach to kids who have know idea about this very pressing and serious matter.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Out of the 10 kids we interviewed all of them said we impacted there life’s in a positive way! We benefited from past experiences and got the chance to impact others. In my opinion, changing 10 kids lives is a greater feeling than getting a grant or funded by someone. In the end of it all, it’s about the lives being impacted instead of how many people bought our shirts. We’re proud to be able to say that we got to contribute to this organization and it will continue to shape us into better people more and more.

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

Looking back, this project was surprisingly insightful. When we first started this project, we thought our teacher has too high expectations for this group of ninth graders. He definitely proved us wrong. Not only did this project help people shine in their own, unique way, it also inspired me by showing that this crazy thing, like being CEO of company, is actually doable. Seeing the awed looks on the kids faces when we taught them about plastic, reminded us to when people would come to our class and present and we would look up to them. Having a chance to teach kids was incredible. We sincerely think we made an impact, or at least opened their eyes to the pollution and waste around them.

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

I remember when this project first launched, We had a guest speaker come in and one thing that she said really stuck with me. Every nonprofit always asks for money because that's what they need to be successful. But in all reality you just need motivation and inspiration to strive. One thing that would really benefit us is partnering with schools across the county. We would not only be able to reach a bigger audience but make an impact throughout the county. Another thing that would really help our nonprofit is getting funding to make reusable water bottles of make lunch boxes. So after we teach the kids we would be able to give them something to start them on their own personal journey.

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Sales

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

We’ve had a lot of success in getting some of local teachers at our school and the middle school to buy our t-shirts (they have our organization name, our logo, and a very quote talking about how starting with ourselves to save the planet!). On the topic of teachers, every class that we’ve presented to the teachers have all loved our idea and were so astonished by our ability to start it now while we are still so young. All members of our group have definitely implemented our networking skills in the way of using our close connection of family members to help us with donations, presentation locations, and more! Our organization has had a major idea that we plan to develop in the time of a couple months, we’re aiming to partner with The Surfrider Foundation because we believe that we are very similar to their non-profit, but they are just much larger which would highly benefit us. It’s a great goal to have based on the ability to possibly get a major shift in exposure and because they are local so we can to many local San Diego county events. Our final way of changing society and our Earth in a positive aspect is by expanding our outreach of presentations to all over California!

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Word of mouth
  • Other


Join the conversation:

Photo of monika robinson

Hey @brianna I am also working on taking plastic out of the environment check out my project @plaestik.project. I think I could help you find the solution you seek to help educate kids in your community about the danger of single use plastics and also a solution to using those plastics collected out of the environment to make new useful things.

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