Trashpackers: Turning Waste into a Global Movement

The Global Movement for Waste Clean-up

From local NGOs to international movements: based on the mission – ‘responsible travel and volunteering’ – Think Volunteer closely follows successful initiatives that make a positive contribution to the local population. This same goal also goes for Tijmen Sissing (30), founder of the Trashpackers foundation which has created a sustainable impact and global movement.

It all started in Lahad Datu, Malaysia (June 2018), where his contributions gained a lot of attention. Tijmen’s efforts were unstoppable as he continued his clean-ups around the world, which eventually led Trashpackers to grow into a global movement through their clearly defined impact.

But how exactly do you make a sustainable impact? And how did he deal with his role as a tourist at the start of that movement? Well, we asked him.

The Success of Trashpackers

“Imagine this: I am a guest in your home, and I begin to tidy things up around the place. But first I say, ‘what a mess in here!’, then that statement is from a judgmental point of view.”

According to Tijmen, having a non-judgemental mindset is part of the success of Trashpackers. “Waste is a global problem, and we are all responsible for it” he continues. According to the Trashpackers, designating a specific country responsible is therefore not the solution, the key is to just start by cleaning up.

Not helping but supporting

“Everyone can notice that I’m a tourist. This encourages their sense of responsibility to help themselves in a positive way,” says Tijmen. He also discusses his role as a tourist because what effect does that have when trying to create an impact in an under-developed country? And what should you consider?

“Being non-judgmental and staying on the positive side is important. You should not want to ‘help’, which seems like you want to be above the population, but above all you want to support. Instead, you should consider, ‘where can I be meaningful?’, I think that’s the right way to go about it.”

Creating a sustainable impact

To make a sustainable impact, Tijmen elaborates that “the idea of ​​it can be very discouraging to people.” According to him, you always make an impact, whether you’re doing something or not doing anything at all. The question is: what impact do you want to make?

He continues, “I think you have to let go of that, and instead imagine: What can I do now? What lies within my circle of influence? Just start with something. Never underestimate the impact you can make by doing something small or simple. That’s where it started for me too.”

Own foundation, campaigns, and lectures

Furthermore, Tijmen himself also thinks about maintaining his impact. This is the reason why he started Trashpackers. There he started setting more fundamental goals, such as prevention, producer responsibility, and lecturing to young people. He’s now looking for partners and sponsors for his new goals in the tourism industry. Within a few weeks, the Trashpackers app will be launched and Tijmen’s dream is that every ecofriendly tourist will use this so they can set a new movement of tourism where people leave the place cleaner that is was before.

Moreover, to manage the number of communities he has created around the world, he states that: “It works best to give the people ownership. This allows people to think along and give substance to the Trashpackers mission.”


Do you want to know more about Trashpackers? Then visit their website at trashpackers.org

Want to get in touch with Tijmen right away? Send an email to info@trashpackers.org

You can also create your own impact through Think Charity !


Trashpackers: Before / After Clean-up

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