A group of Maui students have come together to bring awareness to the wasteful and environmentally damaging use of plastic food utensils. Students enrolled in Maui Huliau Foundation‘s environmental filmmaking program recently created and launched the #Sporkitup Instagram Challenge, which is designed to encourage young people to reduce their use of single-use plastic by using reusable bamboo sporks.
The #sporkitup project originated from the reusable sporks that students use to avoid single-use plastic during student trips. Since thousands of plastic utensils are thrown away every day at almost every school on Maui, these Huliau students decided to use a film and Instagram campaign to empower their fellow students to stop using plastic utensils.
The #Sporkitup Instagram Challenge, launched in high schools island wide, asks students to create teams that will compete to see who can get more of their classmates to put down the plastic and use bamboo sporks for five consecutive days. Participants are asked to post daily on Instagram during the #Sporkitup Challenge Week, which will run Oct. 12-16.
To enter the challenge, each three-student team is being asked to post a 15 second entry video on Instagram before Oct. 12. Once approved for the challenge, students will pick up their sporks and recruit as many students for the challenge week as possible. Whichever team gets the most students to successfully complete the challenge wins a Hydro Flask from Hawaiian Island Surf & Sport and other prizes.
“I am really looking forward to this project launching,” said Kaimana Idica, a #Sporkitup Project leader and junior at Kamehameha. “It will give youth a fun way to spread the word about the growing problem of plastic pollution in our oceans that really cannot be overlooked anymore. Through this campaign we can reduce our personal impact on this problem and ultimately start a movement that we hope will spread throughout Maui.”
While the project was created by and for Maui youth, there has also been an overwhelming response from adults eager to reduce their use of single-use plastic after seeing a short film and presentation by students. The funds from the sporks sold to adults are used to support the youth portion of the project.
For adults wanting to get a spork in October, Maui Huliau students will have #Sporkitup education booths at two events in Lahaina the weekend of Oct. 16-18. Lahaina Plantation Days will be including sporks in their entrance price for guests to use during and after the event, thereby avoiding the disposal of thousands of plastic utensils. The event will take place at the Pioneer Mill smokestack on Oct. 16 and 17 from 5pm to 10:30pm. Students will also be offering sporks for a suggested donation following the Aloha ʻAina Unity March on Front Street on Sunday, Oct. 18.
Supporters of the #Sporkitup project include Kokua Hawaii Foundation which provided funding for the sporks. Hawaiian Island Surf and Sport is providing prizes and serving as the #sporkitup pick-up point and Hawaiian Paddle Sports helped with the students’ new promotional film.
You can find all the details and rules for participating at Mauihuliaufoundation.org/sporkitup.
Here’s their promotional video:
Photo of June Isomura courtesy Maui Huliau Foundation