Beer cans in reeds, rubbish bags in fields: Helsana employees collected up rubbish as part of a volunteer programme. 32 people lent a hand.
Action on the water with SUP Clean Water
So much rubbish in such a peaceful location? Urs Minder can’t believe what ends up on the shores of Lake Zurich in Wädenswil. “I never thought we would find so much rubbish here, in the water and on the land. The endless numbers of cigarette butts also gave me something to think about.” Minder is one of 17 volunteers who took part in the SUP Clean Water initiative in July. The employees collected rubbish not only on land, but also in the water using stand-up paddle boards. The organisation Green Water Day / Surfrider hosted the event with Helsana employees.
To begin with, the Helsana employees were given information on plastic pollution in the oceans. They learned what everyday things they could do personally to reduce waste. And then they were introduced to stand-up paddle boarding (SUP). It involves standing on what looks like a surfboard and getting around using a paddle. Some were better than others at keeping their balance! But in the end everyone was able to collect rubbish. Helsana employee Natascha said she was happy to be able to do something for nature. “It’s amazing where you find rubbish. As soon as you start to look out for it, you notice it more and more.” She took it upon herself to start paying more attention and to raise awareness of waste and littering among those around her. The day ended with a Hawaiian flower ceremony on the water, to pay tribute to the element water and to thank the earth.
Helsana apprentices become Trash Heroes
15 apprentices also wanted to get involved in the volunteer programme. A clean-up campaign was organised in Berne city centre this June with the internationally renowned environmental protection movement Trash Hero. Shaanuja, a first-year apprentice, was among them. To begin with, the young adults were given some information on waste and water pollution. The presentation and the rubbish collection that followed gave many of the participants food for thought. Since then, Shaanuja has tried to produce as little waste as possible. She says: “From now on, my goal is zero waste.”
Shaanuja’s commitment is exemplary – and it would be great if many others followed suit. Out of the rubbish burned in Switzerland, about a fifth remains, says Roman Peter, founder of the Trash Hero movement. This rubbish goes to a landfill, where some of it continues to remain. What's more, Switzerland recycles a lot, but not as much as is commonly assumed. According to Roman Peter, other countries – like Slovenia – recycle much more. The goal, he says, is for people to change the way they think about and handle waste.
The day made an impression on the apprentices. Visibly worn out from the physically demanding work in the heat, they were proud of the mountain of rubbish they had collected by the end of the day.
Helsana is committed to society, the environment and sustainability through its Corporate Volunteering activities.
Employees of Helsana show their passion by volunteering. They help out at retirement homes, foundations and environmental organisations. Employees feel it's important to play an active role in living the “Committed to life” idea. Helsana makes a point of allowing employees to book this volunteering time to working hours and offers them the internal online platform to do so.