Reducing the single-use of plastic bags | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 08, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 07:02 PM, December 08, 2019

Reducing the single-use of plastic bags

UNLEASH is a global innovation lab that equips global top talents with the vision required to disrupt conventional solutions and create a better world by achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Recently, we caught up with SDG 12 global talent of UNLEASH-2019, Md Rafid Ur Rob, a graduate from IBA, DU, and the Business Intelligence and Analytics Manager at Banglalink Digital Communications Ltd.

Sum up your experience at China for UNLEASH - 2019

UNLEASH provided a wonderful opportunity of working with diverse people, sharing ideas and transforming those ideas into real-life solutions. I came across the latest innovation processes, using which, we, as a global community, can drive necessary changes. Representing Bangladesh as a young changemaker has been an amazing experience altogether.

What problem (SDG) did you tackle at UNLEASH 2019?

I was shortlisted for SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production, under the sub-theme of consumption. We addressed the single-use of plastic bags for wet umbrellas after rain. It is predicted that over 18 million of such bags were used by Shenzhen alone in 2019, which shows how alarming the situation is.

What solution did you propose? 

We suggested to replace the plastic bags in the dispenser with reusable ‘Happy Umbrella Bags’. Since consumers would resist a major change, we presented a waterproof reusable bag that perfectly resonates with the current system. In this model, we would be supplying these bags to universities and would be providing a collection bin for the students to dispose them after use. We also intend to make these bags durable enough to be reused over a hundred times. With just a shake, the water can be easily removed. We have already visited Shenzhen’s makerspace to design our prototype and the bag is under research and development, after which we shall distribute it. If this is successful, we can take the product to countries like Thailand, Australia, and Canada.

How far is such a solution relevant in the context of Bangladesh? 

We do not face this particular problem but have bigger challenges concerning the single-use of plastic. In such cases, convenience is regarded as the driver of problems and we must avoid snatching away the convenience during solution-framing. 

What are your comments on the role of Bangladeshi youth in bringing about positive changes?

The youth has immense power to drive changes and people are already doing amazing things. However, there remains a huge scope for further improvement. For leaving an impact on the society, it is not necessary to be an entrepreneur, as one can also create positive changes by being an ‘intrapreneur’ within an organisation.

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