My European Adventure: Finding Plastic Pollution Solutions in France & Switzerland

Guest blog by Kareena Desai

Kareena Desai is a Plastic Pollution Coalition Youth Ambassador, age 11. She recently went on a trip to Switzerland & France and wanted to share her experience and highlight the effective ways both countries are reducing their use of single-use plastic.

Hi! I’m Kareena Desai. I am the founder and CEO of Perform For Change, a non-profit organization that raises money for important environmental causes through projects and performances. I recently went on a trip to Europe. On that trip, I saw many simple things that Switzerland and Paris, France, do to reduce the use of single-use plastic that we could also do in the United States, where I live.

While I was walking around town in Lucerne, Switzerland, there were vendors selling chestnuts. The chestnuts came in compostable bags that had little pockets where you could put the shells in and compost the whole bag later.

Kareena Desai Plastic Pollution Solutions European Adventure

In a window of a clothing store, there was a sign that said, “Be aware of what you wear” with a plant symbol next to it. It was nice to see that there were messages reminding people to be environmentally friendly with their clothing.

Plastic pollution solutions European adventure Kareena Desai

One day we went to eat at a cafe called Velo Cafe. They had reusable utensils in a reused can and napkins made from 100% recycled plant material.

On a train in Switzerland, there was a sign saying, “If you don’t preheat your oven you will save 20% of energy.” There were also water faucets that dispensed water and soap at the same time, saving 90% of the water you would have used to wash your hands! These types of signs and information were everywhere to remind people to do what they can to keep the planet healthy.

Plastic Pollution Solutions European Adventure 5

In Paris, France, at the Hotel Novotel, there was no single-use plastic at all used by the hotel! In each hotel room, they had reusable shampoo bottles. They also had shower caps in compostable packages that said “let’s act together to reduce plastic.” They also had completely compostable cups, and the room keys were also made from recycled wood! 

For breakfast, there was milk in glass jugs. All the fruits were in wooden crates, and you could cut them yourself with a reusable knife. There were condiments and yogurt in little glass containers along with a butter stick on a cutting board.

When you entered the hotel, there was a glass jug with water in it and little glass cups on the sides.

One place we visited in Paris, called the Shakespeare Cafe, had cups made from recycled coffee grounds.

At a park, they had compost signs and bins to help people compost in the right places.

In conclusion, I saw some really great and simple things in Europe that could help stop the use of single-use plastic in the U.S. as well. I hope that we can start to shift to some of those ways of doing things.

Find more plastic pollution solutions here

Plastic Pollution Solutions


11 responses to “My European Adventure: Finding Plastic Pollution Solutions in France & Switzerland”

  1. Anand says:

    Good article

  2. Tasneem says:

    Very interesting observations! I didn’t know the utility of dispensing water and soap at the same time. Thank you for sharing this new information!

  3. Smita Desai says:

    Excellent points made from such a young mind. So proud of your efforts on this very delicate issue.❤️ smitakaki

  4. Stephanie Miller says:

    Thank you for your encouraging article and inspiration. Keep up the great work!

  5. Melinda says:

    Nice article! It’s awesome to see how other cities are taking responsibility to help our planet. I even learned a few new things I can do. Thx for the info!!

  6. Maki says:

    Great information! Thank you for sharing!

  7. Laura Semken says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey and the photos.

  8. Christine Anderson says:

    I would so much rather use real utensils and glasses everywhere I go. I think the pandemic made disposable use even worse. Thanks for pointing these things out!

  9. Mary Wildfire says:

    This is interesting, it’s what we need to do and much of it is what we used to do–but there will be objections to some of it as being insufficiently “sanitary.” The mania for sterility in the US has been a boon to the plastic industry.

  10. Luz Rooney says:

    Great job, Kareena! My favorite is the “Be aware of what you wear” sign at the clothing store. Thanks for sharing the pictures and for having a keen eye in discovering positive initiatives for the environment.
    Keep up the good work!

  11. Seren says:

    It’s really amazing that this issue is taken so seriously around the globe!

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