We kicked off the week full of Christmas cheer! #LTD_AKL celebrated the festive season by donning party hats, stuffing our bellies and singing along badly to much loved Christmas carols over a shared lunch. We’ve had a few moments to step away from the busy workload and reflect on the days past as well as those to come.
The teams have been developing their confidence, speech styles and presentation skills and are delivering stronger pitches than their nerves in week two would have allowed. This week we farewelled one of our crew members Julia Holderness, who is returning to Christchurch after facilitating the first few weeks of the programme. With everyone coming and going, it is great to know that we have solid knowledge, support and brainpower to fuel our participants who are rapidly moving forward with their ventures.
In the middle of this hectic week, I managed to take a seat with Samuditha Rupasinghe from Plastic Diet to talk about her venture and Live the Dream experience so far.
Tell me about your venture…
Our venture tries to make sustainability easy by making bio-degradable plastic the norm in society.
We live in a system where plastic is the norm. Even if you don’t want to kill the planet, you still have to buy the things in the system, so I want to change that.
So far we’ve come up with ideas about a consultancy for businesses. We would work at connecting cafes and businesses in the food industry with alternative providers for plastic, so that they get rid of all of their plastic and replace it with bio-degradable plastic.
Was there a moment for you personally, that you knew this was what you wanted to do?
One moment was cleaning beaches with a group from uni. The amount of trash and tiny little bits of plastic you find is insane.
Number two happened in traffic. When you’re stuck in traffic you realise the piles of plastic and rubbish that litter the sides of the road that you wouldn’t notice while you’re driving.
It gets to the point where you can’t just keep picking up the rubbish on the beaches. It just doesn’t work. So you have to change it before it gets through in the first place. So that’s what we are trying to do, start from the source to stop plastic existing in the first place. I think there are so many ventures who do recycling stuff and working on plastic waste. There’s a lot of stuff like that, but no one is taking action or going to government. Recycling is exhausting and never ending, the flow of rubbish is never going to stop.
Why should we care about these problems and issues?
Because it’s going to get to a point where there is no space to fill up landfills anymore.
I guess in the world everything goes in cycles. You cut a tree, you make paper and it goes back to compost. But plastic never finishes a cycle. So it’s going to get to a point when there’s no more resources to make stuff out of.
What have you been up to this week?
This week we have been validating our problem and trying to work out what exactly our problem is. Every time we think we have our problem sorted out, someone tells us that it’s not a problem. Yesterday, we thought our problem was that businesses don’t have the time and energy to look into alternatives. But we realised that wasn’t the problem. We realised that they are actually missing out on a specific segment of customers they could have if they used bio-degradable stuff.
You also had your second pitch, how did you find that?
I’m so glad that they make us do practice ones, I kinda hate it but secretly it’s really good. We practice all day. Non-stop talking to ourselves really loudly across the hall. That’s the good thing about having teams, I don’t think I could do this without a team.
What is the biggest thing that you have taken away from this week?
When Billy Matheson from ReGeneration NZ was speaking to us yesterday, he simply said that you can’t solve everything in the world. He had this metaphor of a ball of string, filled with everything wrong in the world, and you just can’t solve it, but that’s ok because you’re going to solve one thing and it’s going to be great. That’s my problem, the fact that I want to try and solve everything and the fact that I can’t is hard to comprehend.
What is driving you to spend 10 weeks of your life dedicated to Live the Dream?
I got to the stage where I couldn’t watch the news because I’d feel too helpless about the world. I got into some projects during high school and then during my uni career, and for the first time I didn’t feel helpless about the world!
Live the Dream has been a great opportunity to spend entire days focused on our idea. I now feel like there’s something I can do to change the world to make it a better place.
Here you are surrounded by people who are doing amazing things, giving you positive peer pressure and motivation – it’s the best!
From all of us Auckland Dreamers, may you have a Merry Christmas and a safe and a Happy New Year!