Richard and his brother David have been fighting plastics since 2017. Located in Norway, they have been working together in a project related to environmental awareness and action, Sporløs.
We wanted to ask them their "why", what was the reason or reasons behind their passion and aim to protect Mother Earth. They have been spreading the word through social media, sharing their love for nature, travelling and helping others to save what they love. From short documentaries to plastic fighters and paper straws, they surely know how to bring action to the table. Here is their story.
So, how did all this started?
Our story started in early 2017, though in my mind it started long before that and after many years searching for answers. I wanted to see as much as possible of the world and its beauty, but since 2009, what I saw behind the beautiful scenes, scared the shit out of me. On a tropical island in the Indian Ocean I saw this poor crab capsuled into a plastic shell, but like most people, we think that someone else will take care of it. On my continued world travels, I kept seeing awful things like that poor crab, stemming from single-use plastic product pollution entering their world and it wouldn't leave my mind. It is an unfair world - The rich get richer, and the poor have to live in and with the waste on their doorstep. India must be on top in this regard.
And what was your reaction after this?
I decided to go back to that tropical island where I first saw the poor crab and this time on a mission - helping to clean up and driving for better awareness of the huge plastic problem this world is facing. My girlfriend helped to kick the idea off when saying yes to join me straight away when I asked her if she would be in on selling all our belongings and come with me on a world-saving mission.
Aften almost a year of hard work, my younger brother joined us.
We set up an organisation with a different dimension. The Brothers Sporløs, meaning "Traceless" - Leave nothing.
How have you been able to bring Sporløs to life?
Based on an idea we had of establishing a kilo based deposit system for plastic waste, we were selected by a big Norwegian entrepreneur project, offering the help we needed to get properly started. We received the offer of free office space and business training to make us better at what we did and do.
We started by selling paper straws to establishments in our hometown to replace plastic straws.
We have secured sales with 7 bars/restaurants in the area, and 50% of the proceeds go towards future clean-up work. We are including new eco products that will come for sale soon.
Which have been your main challenges?
When working across locations in the Indian Ocean, we have to take into account that we are also visitors. It is not easy to convince the local government to support the case as they don’t hold any funds to support clean-up efforts. They don’t have any recycling and waste management processes in place in their country, and we have to start from scratch to help them find solutions to the problem.
Our agenda is first and foremost to start cleaning up their beaches and influence locals to join us in that effort.
In 2018, half of our team travelled back to Asia to establish and spread awareness, with the aim to find solutions alongside the local population. We have had success when speaking to young pupils at local Asian schools and they seem to understand better what is at stake. After all, it is their future we are talking about. We also meet a lot of adults who are keen to join in the battle.
Do you work alone or have you teamed up with other organisations?
We have teamed up with Empower Plastic in Norway, and we host organised beach clean-ups every week across the Indian Ocean.
Those who volunteer to join us are rewarded with free fruit and water refills.
And how did you go on your first event?
Our first beach clean-up pilot was very successful, and 477 kg of plastic and other waste was removed from the beaches. Despite the lack of local recycling facilities, we have managed to recycle 70% of the waste, and we are working to find a solution for the remaining 30%.
We have seen you have done videos showing the impacts of plastics, can you tell us more?
We are close to completing our own documentary about tackling the global issue of plastic waste and what we can all do to help. We have received fantastic help from Call2Action, a media and advertising company with offices across Norway and including Stavanger, who has done the film editing.
This summer we are going to present our documentary at festivals across Norway and will also offer the documentary as free education at local schools. We have to catch the attention of young people and get them engaged and motivated to do something. After all, it is their future we are talking about. We are very passionate about what we do and hope to bring the masses with us in the fight against plastic waste.
Thank you so much, Richard and David, for sharing your passion with us! We look forward to the amazing you will bring to life this year! So, don’t forget to share and follow Sporløs!