Point Penalty for Use of Glitter in Odyssey of the Mind Competitions

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The Odyssey of the Mind is an international competition. Each year, the competition sees teams from all over the world - it includes Japan, China, Singapore, Poland and Germany as some of the participant countries. It champions creativity, spurring teams on to think of innovative ways to solve problems in the 21st century’s ever-changing landscape.

We’ve seen teams from all around the world reuse and repurpose materials to bring new life to items that have seemingly outlived their shelf life. Thus, with creativity as our guiding principle, we’re hoping that our idea can help us give back to this programme that has allowed us to gain so much.

Regardless, we cannot deny that with thousands of teams participating in the competition every year, there is at least some kind of environmental impact created. One such material that is a cause for concern is glitter. Teams often use copious amounts of glitter on their props, set and costumes. After the competition, all of it is thrown away. However, glitter has fallen under the radar as a microplastic. As a microplastic, it cannot be recycled, is unable to biodegrade and cannot be collected by water filters. Typically, they are released into the ocean and are ingested by marine animals. Due to bioaccumulation and bioamplification, it is consumed in greater quantities up the food chain. This has now reached an alarming stage as seafood eaters in some parts of the world (likely to be most of us) consume about 11,000 pieces of plastic a year. In a decade, those numbers would rise to be more than 100,000.

We would like to push for a change and strive towards a future where beautiful props don’t cost the planet. There is never one correct answer and thus, there are scores of possibilities when it comes to finding an alternative. In all respect, we recognise that we cannot ban plastic, but acknowledge that depending on the type of plastic there should be a different approach. After considering other alternatives carefully, we would like to suggest the implementation of a point penalty for using glitter. By implementing a penalty, it increases awareness of the environmental issues surrounding the materials used and promotes careful consideration of the impact that it could have.

And we think that this way, the influence of the Odyssey of the Mind competition can be extended to millions of participants, now and in the future. We want to drive this hope forward - but we need your help.

Your signature could mean that millions of participants worldwide could be impacted positively. We, as youths, can impact the world around us. We, as members of the public, have the responsibility to try our level best to protect our only home.

We hope that you can join us on our journey to make the Odyssey of the Mind community a safer and more environmentally friendly community!

We will also be creating a video to be sent to the organisers of the competition, and we would like to include the voices of as many people as we can, from all over the globe. If you are interested to be part of the video, or have any ideas for us, please email us at ootmgreen@gmail.com! Thank you!