As the community organised rubbish into piles, everyday consumables surfaced. Plastic water bottles were the most common offenders, often partially decomposed and missing lids, rings and labels. Next came the takeaway coffee cups and lids, cans, food packaging, Styrofoam, clothing and footwear, fishing gear; even a slow cooker.
The conversation continued with Ocean Vibes, a Pop-Up Sustainable Market and Village Flicks screening Polution Solution.
We’ve grown dismissive of our waste, allowing microplastics and toxic chemicals into our waterways, our soil and our own stomachs. Tackling this global, manmade crisis feels understandably intimidating, but local community clean-ups such as these are vital starting points.
Another solution? Avoiding single-use products all together. If environmental damage isn’t enough impetus, the Queensland Government is preparing to ban disposable coffee cups and lids in the next five years, among other plastics.
Peita knows lifestyle changes can be overwhelming, so she urges us to limit plastic waste one product at a time.
Swap plastic bin liners for compostable bags or newspaper. Rather than buying plastic water bottles, fill a reusable before you leave home.
On the shopping run, drop off your soft plastics in the collection bins at Woolworths and Coles. Sunshine Plaza in Maroochydore has also started collecting takeaway coffee cups with Closed Loop’s Simply Cups recycling program.
Peita encourages hospitality businesses to reduce and repurpose their materials too. Becoming members of Plastic Free Noosa is free and the team works with you to focus on the elimination of six major plastic items – takeaway containers, coffee cups, foodware, water bottles, straws and bags.
Alba By Kuruvita, Embassy XO and VanillaFood have all removed plastics and other waste from their operations. Others are getting inventive with their strategies such as Jungle & Co who transform their milk cartons into takeaway trays, fertilise gardens with their coffee grounds and give their leftover juice pulp to a local farm.
Meanwhile, Steamed Bun Co. recently replaced single-use containers with ceramic plates and bottled sauces, while inviting customers to bring their own reusable takeaway packaging.
Outstanding Businesses become Plastic Free Noosa Champions, examining their energy and water consumption and carbon footprint. Heads of Noosa Taproom installed 300 solar panels on their brewery roof to cover 60% of their power with renewable energy.