Reducing plastic waste

WITH the changes to Australia’s Chinese recycling export scheme and the ban on single-use plastic bags at some supermarkets, substainability and recycling are front of mind for many.

The East Sale Family Group saw an opportunity to invite Gippsland Unwrapped crusader Tammy Logan for a workshop to talk about how households could go plastic-free.

The Poowong resident began reducing her plastic use three years ago, and famously ended up with one jar of plastic landfill waste at the end of the year.

Ms Logan said everyone could make a difference. “From crisis comes really good innovation,” she said.

“The China ban has woken Australia up that we need to create a circular economy, we’re investing more money on things locally.

“Knowing that recycling is one of our first lines of defence when it comes to waste, we should be refusing and reusing, and making sure things are designed for that as well.”

Attendees were told about 10-year-old carrots found in landfills that were unable to degrade, and how soap could be amazingly versatile.

“We used to use it for things like dishwashing and laundry, people used to think you needed detergent — now it’s everything, washing hair and general cleaning,” Ms Logan said.

“One bar of soap can do everything around the home.”

There was also a display of products that could be used as substitutes for other household goods, including plastic wrap.

Ms Logan said helping groups like the East Sale Family Group helped begin conversations.

“There are so many people doing things in their own patch,” she said.

“There has been an explosion of interest in zero waste and plastic free living in the last 12 months.

“There are so many people talking about it, and also a lot of people working away at it in community organisations and environmental groups.

“It needs to get to that tipping point, and I think we’re finally starting to get to that point.”

Event organisers Jocelyn Collins and Michelle Brewis said it was an eye-opening afternoon.

Ms Brewis said she had begun making some changes at home, but it was inspiring to hear suggestions like how simple it was to do a little bit of mending or sewing and ‘upcycling’ items into new product.

“The background information was a bit of a smash in the face — having someone really explicitly explain some of the findings in the amount of plastic they’ve found in dead animals.

“The recent ban on single-use plastic bags at Woolies and Coles is really helpful, and helps every individual reconsider their own waste.”

Ms Collins said it was motivating, especially seeing the single jar of waste, and hoped that opening the session up to the broader community was useful.

“The family group was going to fund this for our members anyway, but we thought it was so relevant to the community we’d hold it in an open location that everyone could come too,” she said.

“We were really excited to see community members come along and be part of it with us – finding out how easy it is to make small changes in your lifestyle for quite a big improvement.”

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