By Yvonne Pflieger
What a powerful image and message: A surfer riding a wave, the wave though is made of plastic waste – to be precise 1,580kg of it to visualize the amount of plastic going into the oceans every hour!
Just imagine over 1.5 tonnes of plastic enter our beautiful oceans each hour, that is almost 38 tons each day, 1,140 tons each month and 13,650 tonnes each year! And that is just the amount we know about. Plastic causes so many issues in the waterways as it gets eaten by marine creatures, breaks down into tiny microplastics and ultimately ends up in our food chain (heard of microplastics in drinking water, salt and oysters?).
We posted this photo a couple of week’s ago on our Facebook page and the response was overwhelming. This post reached more people than ever before and went viral (Thanks, Leon, for finding and posting it!). The post reached almost 2.25 million people to date, was shared 19,739 times, drove 2,659 likes, received 286 comments and increased the number of followers (people who like our page) by over 75% from around 2,100 to 3,700!
What a single image can do! Amazing!
For more background, this photo was taken in London, but the wave has made its way around the world (there was also an installation in Melbourne) as part of Corona’s “This is Living?” campaign that coincided with World Oceans Day. Sometimes big advertising dollars can do good.
The good news is that consumers are much more aware of the big waste and single-use plastic problem we have. So many positive things have happened this year: plastic bag bans (In NSW even initiated by the 2 big supermarkets), cafes and bars replacing plastic straws, more and more cafes encouraging the use of reusable cups, beach clean-ups, research in real biodegradable packaging etc.
These are all great steps, but what we really need is a behavioural shift. The general consumer is still too much focused on convenience and consumption. As long as this is the main driver, the focus on producing less waste and appreciating more what you already have will be slow.
You, our lovely members and readers, are already doing the right thing! 🙂 Getting started is scary and can be overwhelming at first. But every step counts, every little change is a good one. So keep going and do the best you can for yourself and our planet. 🙂
Plastic Free July is the best opportunity to get started or recap on what you have already been doing. Get ready to renounce single-use plastic , but not just that. We’d like you all to look at all the other single-use items you might be using and focus on refusing, reducing, reusing, repairing and repurposing first, before finally recycling (this should always be just the final and last step if there are no other options).
Each week during Plastic Free July we will be focusing on a specific topic and support you with facts and ideas. There will be opportunities to get together and learn, share ideas and experiences, special discounts and promotions and much more.
- Week 1: Going out and takeaway
- Week 2: Household Cleaning
- Week 3: Kitchen & Food
- Week 4: Health & Beauty
Our Plastic Free July mascot Mave designed by Sarah Campbell will guide you through the month and provide you with tips and tricks on how to refuse and reduce single-use items.
What you can expect:
- Throughout all of July: 50% off Love Mae lunchboxes and dinner sets and 30% off Joco Cups (reusable cups)
- Name our Plastic Free July mascot for your chance to win a Love Mae lunchbox. Get your kids involved and contact firstname.lastname@example.org by July 8 with your suggestion to go into the draw. The winner is Cate who suggested Mave deriving from maven, a trusted expert in a particular field, who seeks to pass timely and relevant knowledge on to others.
- School Holiday Waste Warrior Poem challenge. Looking for something to do for your kids or grandchildren during school holidays? Why not let them get creative and enter our waste warrior poem challenge? We are looking for short (or long) poems or stories based on the question: What is a waste warrior in your eyes? You can enter via email (email@example.com), social media (look out for the post) or by handing in a paper version to our lovely staff. Make sure to add your name and your child’s name and age. Entries are open until Tuesday, July 24. Our waste warrior Mave is looking forward to rewarding a winner which we will select randomly with a LoveMae lunchbox.
- Saturday, July 14: Exclusive Zero Waste and Sustainable House Tour with Keelah at 10 am (Members only, 12 participants max.). Email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP. There are still a few spots left!
- Thursday, July 19: Christmas in July Party and Late Night Shopping from 6.30-8.30 pm with mulled wine, Christmas cookies, live music, kombucha tastings, nibbles, membership specials (buy or renew your membership on the night to get an additional 3 months), lovely conversations and much more
- Saturday, July 21: Join us at the Manly Village Markets. We are also still looking for volunteers to help with the stall. Please get in touch if you are interested.
- Sunday, July 29: We are joining the Northern Beaches Clean-Up Crew on their monthly beach clean-up at Collins Beach and we hope you will be joining us, too! Members will get 10% off on the day if they join the clean-up.
- Tuesday, July 31: DIY Beauty, Skincare and Personal Hygiene Workshop with our own Jenna and Kobi. Check out the event on Facebook and get your tickets. If you are not on Facebook, you can also head straight to Eventbrite to secure your spot.