The island of Zlarin, located off the coast of Šibenik in Dalmatia, is set to become Croatia's first which is plastic-free. The process of making the island plastic-free comes from an idea by the winners of an ecological competition. Plastic-free Zlarin was proposed by competition entrants Ana Robb and Nataša Kandijaš, who live on the island, plus environmental activists Ivan Kordić and Jelena Radošević.
Around 15,000 plastic bags can be found in the island's waste each summer, with some of those regrettably ending up in the sea. In the next season, in order to implement the competition-winning ideas, the island will attempt to eliminate all single-use plastic items such as plastic bags, glasses, plates and cutlery. The success of the implementation will depend on the co-operation of all the island's businesses. So far, alongside local residents, they have been supportive of the initiative. It is hoped visitors and tourists will also embrace the idea.
The competition winners won a cash prize for their ideas. They have stated that they will produce educational workshops and posters from the prize money in order to further their aims of eliminating single-use plastic items from the island and to inform on how to reduce overall use of plastics. Although Zlarin is quite a small island, being just over eight square kilometres, it has almost 19 kilometres of coastline and is the third largest island of the Šibenik archipelago. Over two hundred residents live there year round with population numbers rising to over 4000 in summer months. If the initiative is successful on Zlarin, who knows how far the idea could be taken? Could we be witnessing the birth of a template which could be implemented across all of Croatia's islands and coastline?