What is iam? How did it come about that two guys in their mid-twenties from Hamburg wanted to take a stand against plastic pollution?
Here you will find the story behind what is iam today.
Hello from Hamburg
We, Kevin and Daniel, are two twenty-something boys from Hamburg who have been dealing with the global plastic problem for several years. During a semester abroad in Indonesia in 2017, we saw with our own eyes how beaches, seas and entire islands are suffering from increasing pollution. There we came to the conclusion that we in Europe also have to change something.
Inspired by local initiatives fighting for a plastic-free Indonesia, we in Germany would also like to pay more attention to the topic, promote plastic alternatives and work to ensure that we live up to our global pioneering role. The start is made by our #IAMPLASTICFREE drinking straws and bags made of starch, obtained from biogenic waste materials. But that should only be the beginning.
From Asia to Europe
While almost exclusively pictures of dreamy white beaches and turquoise-blue water are posted on Instagram & Co., the reality is unfortunately too often different: Coral reefs wrapped in plastic bags, sections of beach that are sinking in rubbish and marine life that is lost due to the ingestion of plastic particles die in agony.
The picture was taken by us on December 11, 2017 and shows Kuta Beach in Bali. Especially in the rainy season, when the weather gets a little rougher, the sea washes up tons of (plastic) garbage overnight. The beach sections are then cleaned by hotel employees in the morning hours so that guests are not confronted with the problem as far as possible. But even here the end of the possible has been reached. The Indonesian island is overwhelmed by the amount of waste, which is why the government declared a "waste emergency" for the first time in 2018.
With education to success
But not only Indonesia, but also other parts of the world are suffering from the plastic flood. In spring 2019, Kevin traveled to India and supported the Pratishta Foundation, a non-profit organization in Dehradun, north of New Delhi, for several weeks. Children from poor backgrounds are supported here with educational and care offers and can exchange ideas with other children.
Kevin experienced first-hand how the plastic problem accompanies people and animals in everyday life. Roads that lead through mountains of garbage, rivers that are used as sewage canals and children playing with animals next to gigantic garbage dumps. The first few days were quite a "culture shock". Where do you start?
With education! As part of the volunteering project, Kevin taught the children about recycling, waste disposal, the use and consequences of plastic and other environmental topics. The feedback from the little ones was encouraging. They took in all the information with interest.
At the end of his trip, he planted various vegetable seeds together with the children, which will help the organization and the children's understanding of their environment in the long term.
The drinking straw as a statement
After selected plastic products were banned in the EU in July 2021, many alternatives became established, which meant different degrees of adjustment for restaurateurs and consumers. With our #IAMPLASTICFREE drinking straws , we are pursuing the goal of designing an effective alternative to plastic straws that imitates the look and feel of plastic, but is made entirely of natural materials and is biodegradable.
But the straws are much more than just any alternative to plastic straws: They are a statement that natural materials can replace plastic without harming the environment and can be used just like their petroleum-based relatives.
With the printed hashtag #IAMPLASTICFREE, restaurateurs and consumers alike position themselves in the debate for a plastic-free environment. It draws immediate attention to the problem and at the same time represents a solution. This solution works great for many of our partners in the DACH region and has saved several million plastic drinking straws in hotels, restaurants and bars since it started in 2019. When do you want to join our plastic-free revolution?
The bag as an innovation driver
Our vision: We want to develop an extensive range of plastic-free alternative products that make it as easy as possible for companies, customers and guests to switch away from plastic products. We are constantly on the lookout for innovative, sustainable products that may already exist, but that too few people know about.
With our #IAMPLASTICFREE Bags, we therefore launched the second product in mid-2019. For this we use innovative, starch-based material from the remains of the cassava root, which also decomposes on the home compost within a few weeks. This degradation process can be illustrated when the material comes into contact with warm water. The bag then disintegrates into its individual parts within seconds.
The possible uses of our #IAMPLASTICFREE Bags are diverse. Both as a classic shopping bag, garbage bag, dog waste bag or as packaging material of all kinds are conceivable. It is also possible to use the material for shipping bags and thus make the shipping process in e-commerce plastic-free. We are currently in exchange with some large and small companies to carry out the first test cases and are constantly looking for further application scenarios. If you are interested in our #IAMPLASTICFREE Bags, please contact us via the contact form.
A plastic-free revolution
But the idea behind #IAMPLASTICFREE goes far beyond plastic-free straws and bags. Ultimately, we want to start nothing less than a small, plastic-free revolution. That means: We want to avoid plastic, create awareness of the problem and support educational opportunities.
At the same time, it is also clear to us that we cannot stop the global plastic problem with two products alone. But as the saying goes: "Even small animals make a mess". We will therefore continue to go full throttle and expand our range step by step. We have many ideas for plastic-free products and areas in which sustainable alternatives are urgently needed. Therefore, every euro earned flows directly back into our project. Either to pre-finance additional drinking straws and bags or to develop new prototypes. Because: We are self-financed and dedicate every free minute to our #IAMPLASTICFREE project.
If you want to learn more about us two "Heiopeis", please follow us on Instagram . At the same time, we look forward to every recommendation, every helpful contact and of course every order in our shop .