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Reeds against plastic


By the day of the interview, 28 August, Mihkel Tamm and Grete Riim have lived on Saaremaa for exactly four months. Mihkel works as the director of the sports and culture department of the Saare parish. Grete has studied marketing, but she has had different jobs, such as a music manager and the owner of a shoe shop. Still, she’s always looked for a field that would be just right for her.

Their enterprise, Pillirookõrs, was created in early June and it fits well with their ethical values – they produce reusable straws from reed and hope that this would help to raise awareness of the issues related to plastic in the entire world.

If you are doing things that have not been done before, you have to find your own way. As the first thing, they looked for reed with the best quality, but even companies offering thatched roofs didn’t have potentially reusable reeds with the right thickness and quality. In the end, Grete and Mihkel found the reeds from the sea, right in their backyard.

In early June, Grete uploaded the first pictures of their straws to Facebook, though the enterprise did not exist at that time. „As soon as I had uploaded the picture, people started expressing great interest in buying these. A month later, in July, we sent our first invoice to a café, and as of the last week of August, we have sold over 3000 straws,” says Grete.

Grete and Mihkel hope that their straws have a bigger effect than just making people not buy that one plastic straw. “Every time we go swimming, we see the plastic waste on the coasts of Saaremaa. We hope that people will start noticing unnecessary plastic, pointless packaging and articles discussing the solutions,” explains Grete.

Webpage: Pillirookõrs

Photo: Pillirookõrs, Holger Kilumets

Why this story matters?

Climate change is now affecting every country on every continent. It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives, costing people, communities and countries dearly today and even more tomorrow. Weather patterns are changing, sea levels are rising, weather events are becoming more extreme and greenhouse gas emissions are now at their highest levels in history. Without action, the world’s average surface temperature is likely to surpass 3 degrees centigrade this century. The poorest and most vulnerable people are being affected the most.

The Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. 

Read more about SDG 13 – Climate Action

This publication has been produced with the financial support from the Nordic Council of Ministers. The content of this publication is the sole responsibility of the coordinators of this project and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Nordic Council of Ministers.

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Estonian Roundtable for Development Cooperation (AKÜ) is an independent not-for-profit coalition of non-governmental organisations that work in the field of development cooperation, global citizenship education or sustainable development.

AKÜ is a strategic partner for Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a consultant the state in field of development cooperation, global citizenship education or sustainable development.

AKÜ also provides workshops and consultancy for private sector companies as well as for wider public on sustainable development goals and global issues. 

The highest decision-making body is the General Assmebly.  AKÜ’s legal representative is the Board, which is also responsible for managing the organisation’s staff. 

MTÜ Arengukoostöö Ümarlaud (AKÜ)

Estonian Roundtable for Development Cooperation

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Agne Kuimet – member of management board, agne@terveilm.ee