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Guest Post: The War on Waste, Coffs Harbour by Megan Jones.


Well it seems that the ABC program “War on Waste” has caused waves around Australia when it comes to our shopping and throwaway habits. I wrote a blog post a couple weeks ago on what my family have changed to do our part and I received a lovely message from Megan Jones, another local Mum who is concerned about the impact our household habits are having on the environment. I invited Megan to write an article and here it is! LOVE it! Thanks Megan!

Plastic free July is upon us. As mentioned in ABC’s recently aired “War on Waste”. there are four main contributors to plastic pollution: take away coffee cups, bottled water, drinking straws and single-use plastic bags. For those not in the know, Plastic Free July seeks to highlight the growing issue of plastic waste and, ultimately, it’s impact upon animals and the environment. It challenges us as consumers to change our perspectives and, after a month of giving up the “big 4”, hopefully change our habits as well.

Australia wide, people are taking a stand against plastic pollution. In a time when supermarkets pre-package everything from sweet potatoes to a single banana in cellophane encased plastic trays, activists like Anita Horan, with her #PlasticFreeProduce campaign, seek to remind us that life hasn’t always been wrapped in plastic, nor is it necessary, healthy or somehow more hygienic to place each item of produce for purchase in its own barrier bag!

With an increasing movement calling to ban the bag, a ban on single use plastic bags is already in place in Tasmania, South Australia, Northern Territory and ACT, with Queensland to follow in 2018. In Port Macquarie, a community run campaign, Ban the Bag-Reuse your Bag Port Macquarie, is leading the way, calling for a town-wide ban on plastic bags, which has seen many businesses enlisted in the effort.

Throughout Australia, in an effort to reduce the number of disposable coffee cups that end up in landfill each year, the Responsible Cafes initiative invites customers to bring their own, reusable cup to a participating cafe where they might receive a discount on the price of their coffee. And I’m sure you have heard of Boomerang Bags, “…a grassroots community driven movement” whose volunteers use “…recycled materials, as a means to provide a sustainable alternative to plastic bags.”

Each of these endeavours encourages us to be more mindful of our choices and the impact we have as consumers.  So how can you get involved? Whether you have pledged to take the challenge, are looking to join the war on waste here in Coffs Harbour, or simply want to cut back on the amount of plastic in your life, outlined below are just some of the local businesses that can help you find what you need to become a member of the reuse revolution. There are also groups where you can contribute to community projects aimed at reducing the impact of plastic waste at a local level.

Wondering about a business that isn’t listed below? Don’t be afraid to approach them and inquire. Though it may be an unusual request, a local butcher, bakery or restaurant may well be open to placing their products in a container you have brought from home rather than their own plastic packaging.

Affordable Wholefoods, located on Little Street, sells a wide range of “organic, non-organic and gluten free products” in bulk, and encourages its customers to bring their own bags or containers. Buy what you need and avoid plastic waste altogether! Find them on Facebook or visit their website at

Go Vita, located in Coffs Central, sells some bulk foods, single, unwrapped bars of soap, drinks in glass bottles and bamboo toothbrushes. Find them on Facebook.

Nourished Earth, a recently opened health food shop, located in Moonee, carries loose organic produce, a variety of bulk wholefoods and a range of food, drink and health and beauty products in sustainable packaging in addition to having a bulk beauty bar. Find them on Facebook, check out their website,, or drop in for a visit at the Moonee Marketplace.

Red Sparrow Tea Company, located in Coffs Central, are happy to fill any container you might bring in with one of their gourmet loose leaf teas (the flavours available being dependent on what they happen to have unpackaged in store on the day). Visit them on Facebook, or visit their website at When you stop in don’t forget to being your own cup for a takeaway tea or tea latte and receive a 50c discount!

The Happy Frog is a popular local cafe and shop which sells a range of products from loose produce and bulk foods, to reusable goods like coffee cups, straws, cutlery, shopping and produce bags. Find them on Facebook or check out their website at, or drop in for a coffee at 16 Park Avenue, and don’t forget to bring your reusable cup to receive a 50c discount! 

Get onboard with reducing your waste and purchase a reusable jar for your coffee, smoothie or juice takeaways at The Happy Frog!
GET > 0.50C discount forever on your refills!
PLUS > $5 extra buys a knitted cosy and a 100% donation to Wrap With Love Inc Charity.

Palate & Ply, formally Artisti, will not only knock 20 cents off of your take away coffee when you bring your own cup, if you bring your own container they will also happily fill it with beans or grounds from one of their single origin coffees which are stored in hoppers on the walls. They can even make a blend for you if you would like. Or, if you have developed a preference for one of their blends, but still want to take it home in your own container, you can call the Artisti factory to check product availability and then pop by 3/11 Craft Close, Toormina, on a Monday between 7am and 3pm to pick it up. Coffee without the packaging! Find them on Facebook,  shop online at or stop by for a coffee at 37 Vernon Street.

JC Espresso offer a range of reusable coffee cups and a fourty-cent discount on takeaway coffee when you bring in your own cup. Find them on Facebook or visit them at 157 Orlando Street.

Dark Arts Coffee Academy, located in Cox Lane, carries a range of reusable coffee cups and, if gardening is your thing, bring in a container to collect some spent coffee grounds for your compost bin, free of charge. Check them out on Facebook to find out more.

Hannah’s Happy Wraps offer a completely biodegradable alternative to cling film. Locally produced and handmade from tree resin, jojoba oil, beeswax and cotton. Ditch the plastic cling film and find them on Facebook or Instagram (hannashappywrap), or check out the shop at

TotesGreen sell reusable cotton produce bags, handmade in Coffs Harbour, as a sustainable alternative to the single use plastic bags we are all in the habit of reaching for when buying fruit and veg during the weekly shop. Find them on Facebook or Instagram (totesgr33n), or shop at

Lazy Girl Green locally produces a range of ethical, handmade beauty and wellness products from  natural ingredients that are sold in sustainable packaging, which customers are encouraged to refill. Find her on Facebook or Instagram, or purchase Lazy Girl’s products at

Folk Body Care make “ethical soap and body care products” right here in Coffs. Products sold in plastic-free packaging include bar soap which comes in cardboard boxes, and hair serum and beard oil, which is sold in glass bottles. Products are shipped to retailers using cardboard shipper boxes with ‘ecofill’ void-filling beans. Local stockists of Folk products include IGA Jetty, Liberty Providores (Urunga), and Soul Kindle (Bellingen).  Find them on Facebook or visit the website at to check out their full range.

Bellamy Skincare can be found selling their range of handmade, sustainably packaged buffalo milk soaps and barber products, such as beard oil, moustache wax, beard balm and aftershave lotion, at the Sunday markets which are now held at Park Beach Reserve. Find them on Facebook or at

Kombu Wholefoods has a massive array of bulk foods available for sale and a number of eco-friendly products ranging from skincare to food, clothing and more. Visit their gorgeous store at Bellingen or check them out on Facebook. And to celebrate Plastic Free July they are offering 10% off all their already discounted bulk right through the month.


Fancy getting involved? Join the local Boomerang Bags community to help reduce the use of plastic bags and build a more sustainable Coffs Harbour. Whether you are good with a sewing machine or have never sewn at all, there are jobs for everyone and all are welcome. In addition, members of the Boomerang Bags community are being encouraged to host home workshops to which other members are invited to attend and contribute. Fancy hosting a workshop or going along to a sewing bee? Join the group on Facebook to keep abreast of upcoming sewing bees and other events or find them on

Sea Shepherd Marine Debris Campaign, Australia are a non-profit organisation committed to conserving Australia’s “…marine environment, preventing and removing the unprecedented amount of marine debris entering our oceans and waterways.” Follow them on Facebook to receive updates about the location and dates of upcoming beach clean ups, or find them online at All volunteers are welcome.


But you don’t have to join an organised beach clean up to fight plastic pollution. Take Three, a non profit organisation, encourages you to pick up and take 3 pieces of rubbish with you when you leave the beach (or anywhere), in the belief that what may seem like a small action can amount to a significant impact. Follow them on Facebook, tag them on Instagram and share your #TAKE3FORTHESEA with others, or check them out online at where you can sign up for their newsletter and keep up to date on events.


If you know of any other local businesses doing their part to help the #waronwaste, or any other local initiatives to reduce plastic please comment on our Facebook page or leave a comment below. We don’t want to leave anyone out!


Categories : Guest Post

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