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Our War on Waste


I must confess due to not watching much TV I missed the 3 series show “War on Waste” when it screened on the ABC recently. But after hearing a lot of people talking about it and seeing various comments on Facebook, I finally decided I needed to watch it. I jumped onto ABC iview and I got my kids to watch it too.

I consider myself a bit of an environmentalist but I had no idea how bad Australia was and how much more we all could be doing. So this weekend marks a big change in our household habits.

It started with going to the Sunday markets and getting fruit and veg and using all my own bags. Then dropping by Woolies Park Ave we checked out the new “soft plastics” bin (well done Woolies!) so now we know where to take them. Then Bunnings to buy two new bins: one for soft plastics and one for compost.

If you missed the article in yesterday’s Advocate – “Coffs Harbour is winning War on Waste” you can click here to read it. It’s good to see local business getting on board and doing their part, such as the Bailey Centre who are offering 4 cents off per litre of petrol in exchange for 5 plastic bags.

And did you know that Coffs has it’s very own soft plastics recycler?

From their Facebook page:

Harbour Paper & Oil has been providing a recycling service to the Coffs Coast area for over 20 years. We provide a range of convenient options to cater to all business & domestic recycling requirements both large and small.
We recycle:
• All paper and cardboard types
• All soft plastics, including milk bottles, plastic wrap, soft drink bottles…
• Car bumpers and other plastic panels
• Used Cooking oils – A 200L drum can be provided on request!
We are located at 24 Hulberts Rd Toormina for easy FREE drop off to our premises or if you prefer a weekly, fortnightly or monthly collection service is available.

If you follow Paper & Oil on Facebook you can find out where the nearest soft plastic recycling bin is near you and how active they are in getting supermarkets and schools to get on board.

I took the kids for a drive to see the new Urunga Boardwalk, so we can see for ourselves the end result of recycling soft plastics. Its decking has been constructed by an Australian Company (Replas) using 100% recycled plastic waste. This is the equivalent to around 2.5 million plastic bags being diverted from landfill. VERY impressive.

What has probably concerned me the most from the show was that takeaway coffee cups ARE NOT recyclable! There are plastic components in them so the moisture doesn’t soak through which makes them unable to be recycled. So I’m now 100% committed to taking my own reusable coffee mug when I get my morning coffee. I just asked on Facebook if anyone knows of local coffee shops that offer a discount for people who bring in their own cups. If you know of any, or would like to find out who to support this initiative – click here.  You can also check out the Responsible Cafes website and type in your postcode or town to see who offers a discount and how much. It’s great to see places like  The Happy Frog offering a 50 cent discount! I sure hope many more cafes sign up.

What I would also love to see is NSW banning single use plastic bags. You can find out more about this by clicking here . South Australia, the Northern Territory, the ACT and Tasmania already have plastic bag bans, with QLD to follow next year. You can sign an online petition here calling on NSW, Victoria and WA to #banthebag. We can also join people like GREENS member and Coffs Harbour City Councillor Sally Townley to encourage our own council to ban plastic bags at a local level.

Another thing we can do is support local initiatives like “Coffs Coast Boomerang Bags” – Boomerang Bags works to reduce the use of plastic bags by engaging local communities in the making of Boomerang Bags – community made using recycled materials, Boomerang Bags provide a free, fun, sustainable alternative to plastic bags.

By getting involved with Boomerang Bags, you are participating in a national movement that celebrates a local grassroots initiative, community building and sustainability.

If you have anything to add, please leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

Categories : Alison's Blog

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