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Impact 0529: Reducing plastic waste one bubble tea at a time

Olivia Law · 12 April 2022
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Youth Action Challenge (YAC) is a platform for youth to provide solutions that tackle the issues we are concerned about. Since October 2021, over 80 teams and more than 310 youths have undertaken the YAC Season 3 journey.

Olivia, 17, is from Team BUBBLON and is currently a JC2 student. Her team came together as they wanted to make an impact on the plastic waste issue by bringing about a change to something that concerns us in our day-to-day lives, by reducing the use of disposable plastic cups and straws. Today she shares more about the project!

What was your role within your YAC project?

I did the 3D design of BUBBLON. Before we attended the YAC events, we decided to assign our own individual roles, so that we could have a clear teamwork system. I was the “Coordinator” and “Shaper” who was in charge of clarifying goals, promoting decision making, and driving the team forward. All of us were also “Implementers” and “Resource Investigators” because we each had a part in turning our idea into action while exploring opportunities and contacts at the same time.

What motivated you to join YAC?

I joined YAC because I wanted to apply the fresh knowledge I had learned in JC 1’s Project Work and to gain experience and insights from mentors in how they develop their ideas in the working world.

Can you share with us your experience with your YAC project?

The experience with our BUBBLON project mainly consisted of the online workshops, mentor, and consultant sessions, which were beneficial and meaningful. This was because our assigned mentors were able to provide us with insights from their real-world working experience, by giving realistic perspectives when looking over our proposal and implementation plan.

What are some challenges you faced while working on your YAC project?

We were unable to successfully get cooperation from our identified stakeholders and we were unable to deliver a prototype due to the costly price of forming the moulds for the BUBBLON cup.

Could you share more on how your project has a positive impact?

In terms of the scale of impact, regrettably, I have to say it has been quite small, mainly because we were unable to carry out parts of our implementation plan due to limited time and cooperation from the main stakeholders we have identified and reached out to. And although we were of utmost gratitude to have our project later awarded a grant, after much discussion, the team decided to turn the grant offer down as all of us will be having major examinations this year.

Were there any key takeaways or learning points from your time with YAC?

Besides the main insights derived from our in-depth research regarding plastic wastage in Singapore, I learnt the benefits and complications of youth action.

To summarise, youth action is what Singapore needs when facing new challenges that we cannot fully rely on our past knowledge to overcome. Yet, ironically, it is considered of lower priority compared with our formal education. 

Hence, I am thankful for the opportunity provided by the YAC organisers in giving their utmost best to aid the YAC participants. This BUBBLON project has become a cherished experience for my team, and we were able to push ourselves out of our individual comfort zones and apply skills learnt through YAC and in school.

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