Restaurants, bars, cafés all have one thing in common, the excessive amount of waste they produce daily. The problematic of plastic waste is very present today, and we wanted to do something about it. We sought to change something about Brussels, something to make it stand out as a role model for other cities around the world.
Our objective is to eliminate plastic straws all over the cities we operate in by offering our environmentally friendly WAW straws to any institution who desires to join the movement.
Straws are a convenient pleasure, certainly, and that's why at WAW we are convinced that an eco-friendly alternative to plastic straws should be promoted to enjoy our refreshing drinks without the negative impacts on the environment.
Our mission is to raise awareness of the daily plastic waste, starting by banning plastics straws in Belgium.
To do so, we want to help as many restaurants, bars and cafés as possible reduce their use of plastic straws and replace them by our long lasting alternative, our stainless steel WAW straws.
It is through globally spreading our small individual efforts that we are going to feel the impact of our actions.
Meet the team
We are a team of 5 students with the ambition to help the planet. We recently created a team in Maastricht. If you are interested by starting your own WAW team in your city, please contact us here.
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If not now, then when?
The WAW straws
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WAW in the press
"À 21 et 22 ans, Manuela et Fanny se sont levées un matin avec l’envie de relever un drôle de défi : bannir les pailles en plastique à Bruxelles. Alors qu'elles sont toujours sur les bancs de l’université..."
"Créé par trois jeunes belges, What About Waste vise la suppression de toutes les pailles en plastique dans les cafés, bars et restaurants à Bruxelles, proposant des pailles en métal..."
"Fanny et Manuela ont la vingtaine et déjà plein d’idées en tête dont une en particulier: réduire – supprimer définitivement – l’utilisation des pailles en plastique de Bruxelles. ..."
"Un mouvement international est en train de se mettre en place contre les pailles en plastique, fléau écologique. En Belgique, des étudiantes essaient de convaincre les restaurateurs de les remplacer par des pailles en métal..."
It all started while studying for exams. Everyday, my grandmother would make me the healthiest breakfast you could possibly imagine. "For your neurons" she'd say. Everyday I would drink my freshly squeezed orange juice with a straw. The study period lasted three weeks:
7 x 3 = 21 . 21 straws all by myself. This is when I decided that my habits had to change, because I understood that the choices I made today, determine the way you will live tomorrow.
I have always wanted to make a change, to contribute to an important cause. I don't come from a particular ecological family, but I have always been in contact with nature; its beauty and its power. I think it's also worth mentioning that fighting for a cleaner and brighter future was not my "destiny", nor what I "always wanted to do" but merely a realisation that I could simply not continue living with my current habits.
I started changing my eating and shopping habits, and started the Whataboutwaste Instagram to try and spread as much awareness as I possibly could to the people around me. I also learned to listen and learn, A LOT about how to go about raising awareness about environmental issues. I received so much encouragement, even from strangers. This made me realise that I really wasn't alone in this, and that people all around the world had started small projects to change their surrounding's habits which gave me the courage to start this movement.
Strangers can change your life, and Manuela surely did change mine. She has helped me bring WAW to where we are now and although I am convinced of the WAW movement's potential, she makes me eager to develop it further and encourages me to envision the possible influence we can have on this planet.
I refuse to think we are doomed in this pile of plastic, and believe that every small effort does make a change.
- Fanny Everard, Founder of What About Waste.
"For me it was different. My interest for the environment is not new. In fact, it started when I travelled in Australia and New Zealand a few years ago. I worked in many farms and met many environmentally-conscious people, and I loved it. But once I came back home, this interest in me died; other concerns such as “what I should study” and “study hard to pass all my exams” took its place. Fast forward a couple years when a friend of mine suggested I watch a documentary called “What the Health”. And that’s when it all started.
It only took one documentary to revive this passion I once had. From one day to another I stopped eating all meat, dairy and other animal based products. My curiosity for this vegan/plant-based diet led me too many other documentaries, articles, and books to help me further understand this lifestyle. Gradually, my motives were not only for health reasons, but also for the protection of animal and of course, the protection of the environment.
The more I researched, the more I realised how rapidly our eco-system was dying. This mass extinction was caused by society’s excessive behaviour. How did we let this happen?
There was a lot of changes to be made in my life. Not only did I start noticing the amount of plastic I used every day, but my awareness grew larger and larger, plastic is everywhere! How could I have not noticed before? Why was I not more careful of my own excessive use of plastic? The answer is simple; I didn’t know. I wasn’t conscious of how bad my environmental impact on this planet was. Not everybody realises that the amount of trash and plastic surrounding us is killing our planet. And that’s when I realised that I had to do something about this…because it's never too late.
The next day of my new found “purpose in life”, something magical happened to me. I went to university, sat down in class next to this girl that I’ve never met before, and we started talking. You know the feeling you have when you meet someone for the first time and you just know that this person will change your life forever? Well this is the exactly what I felt the moment we said “Hey.” to each other for the first time.
Oh, and this girl is Fanny Everard."
- Manuela Moutafian, Founder of What About Waste