Who is Bamboo Straw Girl?
Bamboo Straw Girl (Melissa Lam) is an English Language teacher and the founder of Bamboo Straw Girl. Back in 2013, she was at the tail-end of a few years of on-and-off backpacking when one of her friends took a picture of their group around a campfire next to a river. The picture of the group of friends in the blue evening light, with the warm glow of the campfire on their faces - was at first romantic. On closer inspection, they were surrounded by plastic bag upon plastic bag of "rations" from the convenience store close to their hostel. The picture became a poignant reminder of their over-reliance on single-use plastic. As they packed up after the campfire that chilly night, shining torchlights to make sure they left no trace, Mel was struck by the irony of it all - why had they brought these little single-use plastic items into nature, and what would the consequences be if they left even a tiny bit behind? After making small changes to her personal lifestyle habits, and stumbling upon the Zero Waste movement, she felt compelled to spread the message of mindful consumption through a lighthearted conversation starter - the bamboo straw. What started out as a personal project has now impacted thousands of people and dozens of schools and organisations. This work has empowered partner artisans, a majority of whom are women, with a second stream of income or full time wage, and allowed us the privilege of contributing meaningfully back to society. We are all forever grateful.
Watch Mel's TedX Singapore talk:
Follow Mel on Instagram!