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Tourism Tackles Trash: a story about community, environment, and tech!

Nikolina Kukoč

Nikolina Kukoč


Can social media be considered green tech? Your initial response to this question would probably be a resounding “No!”, or something along those lines.

But there’s a story we’d like to share with you that might change the way you view things when it comes to green tech and social media.

A story that combines community, environment, and tech. 😀

We first met its protagonist at this year’s Green Future Conference right here in our beloved city. The city that he was also enchanted with, as many internationals are. Split enchanted him to come back but also to help initiate a solution to a problem he noticed and also addressed from the stage during his talk at the conference.

The power of using social media as green tech

Tijmen’s story actually started back in 2018, during a trip to Southeast Asia. Shocked by the amount of plastic on the beaches there, he decided to clean it up.

This was filmed by a local resident and the video, which was subsequently posted on Facebook, became viral – reaching more than 250 thousand viewers on the first day of its publication.

That was the start of the Trashpackers which gathered a worldwide community of as many as ten thousand followers in just a few days.

Locals and tourists continued the initial cleanup, which eventually grew into a global movement advocating the reduction of single-use plastics. As part of the Trashpackers movement, 400 tons of plastic have been cleaned in 52 countries so far.

Of course, this is not Tijmen’s only project. For example, in 2021, he launched Cruise 2 Reduce, a recycling bus that recycles plastic ‘on the spot‘ with the help of four machines. Since then, he has visited about a hundred schools and various organizations every year to point out the importance of green activism.

Green Future Conference, Trashpackers, and Split

All of this brought Tijmen to Split and to the stage of the Green Future Conference as a speaker. During his hotel stay, he counted 18 single-use plastic items in his room.

This prompted him to embark on a research spree and made him realize that this situation was similar in other hotels, too. With further calculations, he arrived at a shocking number of half a million such items per year in an average hotel with around 150 rooms.

A striking revelation that he immediately added to his presentation and addressed it in front of the audience present at Green Future.

This is how the Tourism Tackles Trash campaign got initiated and it has now reached its active phase with Tijmen’s recent return to Split. Although many claim that they are sufficiently dedicated to environmental issues, Tijmen is convinced that the reality is completely opposite.

As an avid travelogue, he believes that it is high time to rethink travel habits. Therefore, he tries to encourage hotels to replace single-use plastic items with reusable ones. Hotels can always independently implement their green policy.

But they can also join the Tourism Tackles Trash program, through which they are provided with professional support.

Tijmen, aware that tourism takes a toll in terms of pollution, has the mission to turn tourists into those who contribute to the destinations they visit instead of further polluting them. And all of that with a clear action plan and clever use of social media.

So, we’ll ask again: can social media be considered green? If used for these purposes, it sure can! 😀

This story of Tijmen and Split proves not just the benefits technology can have if used for good, but also the power of community and how one person might not change the world on their own, but can surely inspire others to join – and together they can make a substantial difference.

The only thing left for you to do now is to: join the wave!

Photos: Milan Šabić for Green Future Conference


About author:

Nikolina Kukoč

Researching is woven into my DNA, but I am a musician at heart. Interested in too many things and always curious. Forever in love with Split and enchanted by people who teach me new things. When I am not creating content about Split's tech community, you will find me in singing rehearsals, somewhere in nature, in the theater, or with my head stuck in a book. I do my best to live by the verse from the opera "Fedora" by Umberto Giordano: "Love forbids you not to love."

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