At 11 years old, Lilly is an international environment champion with her own clean-up movement: Lilly’s Plastic Pickup (which she started when she was 7 years old!). Lilly is a Youth Ambassador for the Plastic Pollution Coalition, and a Child Ambassador for World Cleanup Day, HOW Global, The Ship of Tolerance London 2019 and YouthMundus. She counts Dr Jane Goodall, Greta Thunberg, the director-general of WWF, multinational organisations such as Plastic Pollutes, Lonely Whale and Two Hands Project as her supporters. And, Lilly is number 28 in a list of top 100 influencers against plastic pollution.  Wow! What a list of phenomenal achievements for someone so young!

Born in the UK, Lilly moved to the Netherlands when she was 7 years old. While walking in the park with her grandfather, who lives in Voorschoten, he began teaching her to count in Dutch while picking up litter. He explained to her how all the plastic that has ever been created still exists in the world, it has just changed shape and broken into smaller pieces, but it is not biodegradable. He also explained the concept of ‘plastic soup’, whereby huge expanses of the ocean are filled with plastic giant rotating ocean currents, filling the sea-life with toxic plastic and micro-plastic which eventually directly affects us through the food-chain. Lilly said that she wasn’t sure whether to be mad or sad about this, so she decided instead to take action!

Lilly took to the ground, picking up litter daily. She also took to social media by posting photographs documenting the litter she cleaned up and sharing videos on the effect that plastic has on wildlife and our delicate ecosystems. She also shares clear, actionable tips on what individuals can do to combat plastic: don’t use single use plastics like cutlery, straws, take-away mug lids and disposable cups; and, when you see litter, pick it up and throw it away. No excuses.

It’s not difficult to see why we have invited Lilly to speak at TEDxYouth@BSN. She certainly breaks the mould on what it means to be young and proud by demonstrating every day that youth empowerment is possible – all you need to do is take action! And, we are so lucky that Lilly’s mom has a strong connection with the BSN, being a BSN alumna. Big thank you to Mike Weston, our school archivist, for keeping this community strong and growing.

Lilly’s TEDxYouth@BSN talk will centre on the worldwide issue of plastic pollution highlighting how solutions can be found closer to home than we think,

“Plastic pollution is not only a global problem, it’s a local problem.”

World Cleanup Day, 21 September 2019

One such solution, Lilly says, is to get involved in projects such as World Cleanup Day, of which she is a child ambassador. On 21 September 2019, World Cleanup Day will once again see communities around the world coming together to collect litter as well as data on what type of litter is cleaned up and where.  Data collection of what is being cleaned-up is important because it will help environmental activists, NGOs and municipalities to address the reason for the litter being there; leading to better packaging, responsible behaviour and policy changes. By using the TrashOut app on World Cleanup Day (and whenever you see litter where it shouldn’t be) you can contribute this information to the World Waste Platform.

Join Lilly, and make an impact on World Cleanup Day 2019

Option 1: Create an event

  1. Download the TrashOut app
  2. Be aware of areas with a lot of litter (if your neighbourhood is clean, excellent! Keep your eyes open while in the park, at the beach or at the train station)
  3. Take a photo of the areas that need cleaning up, log them in the app
  4. Create an event to clean-up those areas for the 21 September 2019 and invite your family and friends to take part
  5. Meet on 21 September to clean up the area. Don’t forget to pack gloves and rubbish bags
  6. Mark the area as ‘cleaned-up’ in the app
  7. Share your before and after photograph on social media (don’t forget to tag @BSNetherlands and included #TedxYouthBSN #WorldCleanupDay) or email it directly to us at
  8. Congratulate yourself on being awesome!

Option 2: Clean-up wherever you are

  1. Download the TrashOut app
  2. On 21 September, take a photo of the area you are about to clean-up, log it in the app
  3. Use gloves to pick up rubbish, and be sure to dispose of the rubbish safely
  4. Mark the area as ‘cleaned-up’ in the app
  5. Share your before and after photograph on social media (don’t forget to tag @BSNetherlands and included #TedxYouthBSN #WorldCleanupDay) or email it directly to us at
  6. Congratulate yourself on being awesome!

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