The younger generation is very concerned about climate issues and the environment. This is obvious as we see their increasing worldwide protests again climate change and plastic pollution.

We are delighted to see that so many young people at our TEDxYouth@BSN event are speaking on these topics, such as Lilly Platt.

We are therefore also very excited to introduce Ralph Groenheijde as one of our speakers. Ralph started the NGO TrashUre Hunt in 2013.

As Ralph says: “I am the Forrest Gump of waste at the beaches of The Hague”.

Bottle tops instead of shells

In the year 2000, Ralph, his wife, and two-year-old son were traveling through Costa Rica for several months. While the family was hunting for shells on the beach, Ralph’s son seemed more interested in bottle tops than shells.  After three months, they had collected one big rubbish bag full of bottle tops. This was a major wake up call for Ralph.

Back in the Netherlands, he went for a walk on the beach near his home. In just a few hours, he collected 6 rubbish bags full of waste. He used this waste to build a sailing ship, similar to the ship his parents once had.

Not much later, TrashUre Hunt was founded!

A ship build from beach waste

How does TrashUre Hunt work?

TrashUre Hunt organises hunts on the beaches around The Hague, and tries to get (international) attention to the plastic and waste problem. Ralph’s and TrashUre Hunt’s aim is to educate people and create awareness for children and adults.

The rules of TrashUre Hunt (TH) are simple: TrashUre Hunters are pirates, animal savers and heroes. Everything that is not supposed to be in nature is our treasure. Children involved in TrashUre Hunting use all the trash they collect and create treasures such as art, costumes and so on. They earn levels by picking up waste and plastic from the beach.

You know that fish die from this, don’t you?

Pepijn, 7 years old

TH proves that cleaning up and fun can go hand in hand. People will learn and experience that it is everyone’s responsibility to keep the beach clean. TrashUre Hunters are not only children as you can see below!

Happy Hunters and Gatherers

Cigarette filter? Small thing, major damage

One of the most successful campaigns that TrashUre Hunt has launched is the Clean your Butt campaign. In 2018 more than 11.000 volunteers picked 55.000 cigarette filters of the beach and the streets. Cigarette filters do not only contain plastic, but also metallic parts and tar. They even contain some kind of liquid antifreeze, to extend the shelf life of a cigarette, according to scientists.

The Summer Challenge

In 2016, Ralph and the TrashUre Hunters got the opportunity to start a major event, partly sponsored by the local city council.

Ralph decided to organise a 95-day event: The Summer Challenge!

During the third Summer Challenge, in the summer of 2018, 14.250 visitors helped clean the beaches and collected a massive amount of 3100 kg of waste.

The TrashUre Hunt Station

Ralph himself is at the TrashUre Hunt Station almost every single day. During the Summer Challenge, TH organises a variety of events, for example, art workshops, skate workshops, low tide walks to name but a few.

The future of TrashUre Hunt

TH and Ralph work together with local partners: schools, businesses, city council, but also with the Ministry and European Union.  TH wants to grow into the expert on waste awareness, but always in a fun way that appeals to everyone. They aim to make a real difference in the world and, most importantly, to Break the Mould!

Ralph is very excited to speak at TEDXYouth@BSN. He is also a professional coach and therapist.

Ralph Groenheijde, founder of TrashUre Hunt

During TEDxYOUTH@BSN, TH will also be running workshops BSN students.

Trash can become beautiful art