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AIIC joins the refill revolution!

The PRIMS 2019 meeting in Montreal is a first: a plastic-free AIIC event

Photo credits: PRIMS Standing Committee

On arrival at the PRIMS Montreal meeting, participants are being presented with a plastic-free AIIC-branded reusable bottle, to refill at will. No single-use bottles of water will be provided, and no garbage bags of empty plastic containers will be left behind.

This could be the start of a new, cleaner, healthier era for the conference interpreting profession.

Be part of the solution

Every year millions of tons of single-use plastic containers are discarded. Plastics don’t biodegrade: they break down into smaller particles and leach into the soil and groundwater. The chemicals produced poison the environment and accumulate in human tissue, where they may be linked to cancer, birth defects and other ailments.

While recycling plastic bottles does help, it is a complex and expensive process, and much of the waste still ends up in landfills. 

Declaring the PRIMS Montreal meeting plastic free is a small gesture, but we intend to make all PRIMS events plastic free, and then to use our influence to make other AIIC events follow in our footsteps: regional meetings, training events, group and committee meetings, perhaps even the Assembly…

We are also encouraging members to keep their reusable bottles, and to use them proudly wherever they work. AIIC will be visibly associated not only with professionalism and quality in interpreting, but with environmental responsibility too.  

It will also follow that AIIC members will carry some of this consciousness into the rest of their lives.

A cleaner, greener AIIC

 The Executive Committee wholeheartedly supports the initiative. 

“This is an excellent initiative from AIIC’s Private Market Sector group,”  it stated. “ExCo would like to expand this project across the Association, so that one day, soon, all AIIC events will be plastic free.” 

As a profession we can influence those we work with, and perhaps others in the conference industry will be swayed when they notice that the booths used by AIIC interpreters are clear of empty plastic bottles, and that they carry a ‘Plastic Free AIIC Event’ reusable bottle wherever they work.

A global coalition

ExCo is also seriously considering a PRIMS proposal that AIIC join the Plastic Pollution Coalition – a global alliance working toward a world free of plastic pollution. The Coalition promotes a “4 R” pledge: 

  • Refuse disposable plastic whenever and wherever possible. 
  • Reuse durable, non-toxic straws, utensils, containers, bottles, bags, and other everyday items. 
  • Reduce your plastic footprint. 
  • Recycle what you can’t refuse, reduce or reuse.

Next time you’re thirsty, think about the planet. Then, instead of buying a throw-away plastic bottle of water, head to the faucet with your 'Plastic Free AIIC Event' reusable bottle. Doesn’t that fresh water taste a bit better knowing you’re helping make a difference?

Recommended citation format:
Private Market Sector Standing Committee. "AIIC joins the refill revolution!". August 24, 2019. Accessed July 2, 2020. <>.