Remember a time when we would buy a drink (usually in a glass bottle) at the local milk bar and drink it while hanging out the front with our friends so that we could go back in immediately and claim our bottle refund. In those days I wouldn’t have thought of just tossing the bottle into the bin much less littering it on the street. Those five cent pieces were invaluable to a seven year old.
Fast forward many years and these days we have such a huge waste problem with 30 million bottles and cans littered or landfilled every day. Many of our plastic bottles are discarded in the streets, parks, and ultimately end up in our waterways and the ocean. Beach clean
ups conducted throughout Australia have ascertained that 90% of all waste washed up is plastic, mostly bottles, caps and straws. The CSIRO predicts that by 2050 almost all of our sea birds will have traces of plastic in their gut. If we could harken back to the days of the bottle refund, do you think it would make a difference to our pollution and landfill problems?
Well the good news is that there is a fantastic solution to the plastic epidemic within our grasp. The Queensland State Government is looking at offering people 10 cents for each container returned to a collection depot or placed in a reverse vending machine.
Environment Minister Steven Miles said Queensland had one of the lowest recycling rates in the country.
After decades of campaigning and following the NSW government embracing the program the Queensland government will take on the program in 2018 and then along with South Australia and the Northern Territory who already have active refund programs in place, we should see almost 80% of our bottles and cans sent to recycling rather than landfill.
So how will Cash for Containers work? When we buy a bottle or can of drink there will be a ten cent refundable deposit built in to the price of our beverage. Once it is empty the bottle can be recycled at one of many reverse vending machines located at your nearest supermarket, shopping centre or community drop off point. It’s such a simple process, you put the empty bottle in and the ten cent deposit goes back into your pocket. The bottles and cans are then sent to a recycling hub and the money earned from the sale of recycled materials along with the unredeemed deposits, funds the entire system. Pure genius!
A flow on from this is that thanks to the way the system works we can turn our bottles and cans over to charitable organisations and community groups which can then turn our trash into much needed funds for their projects. Plus it will create 2,500 new jobs. Now that is something to be excited about, a system of recycling that gives back, reduces our plastic pollution and funds itself.
If you would like to support the small team of staff and volunteers who have been tirelessly championing this cause you can watch their informative animated video and make a donation at www.boomerangalliance.org.au .
The countdown to Christmas has begun and like most working Mums with a Web TV show I have decided to take a couple of weeks off from filming to soak up the joy of the season and help myself to de-stress a little.
But far be it from me to allow you to go without your weekly dose of FMM TV so in the tradition of all good TV shows over the holiday season we are going to run the reruns!
Starting with Episode One which received the most views on Youtube.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for watching, liking, commenting and sharing my videos and blog posts throughout this year. I look forward to journeying with you in 2016 and wish you all the Very Merriest of Christmases!
Take care over the silly season and thank you for walking a little lighter on the planet.
Seriously though, on tonights episode I take a trip to the shed to whip up this cute picture frame, complete with a mini clothes line to hang your pictures from, as a Christmas present for a special friend.
I take you into my garden to see the lovely pineapple that I am growing that cost me nothing but a bit of love and attention, oh and two years of my time waiting for it to appear. It is an extraordinarily long time to wait for a piece of fruit!
Considering that it is the party season I encourage you to think about the waste that is generated by plastic disposable straws! The statistics are quite dramatic.
Please enjoy tonights program and if it floats your boat please LIKE, COMMENT and most of all SHARE with the ones you care about.
Entertaining over Christmas? Why not send a sneaky little message with every function that you put on by going green. You don’t need to be preachy about it, just subtle education by leading by example in the things you use, refuse and reduce at your party.
Ditch the single use disposable plates and cutlery. I know no one really likes to do the washing up particularly when you have invited all the relatives, the neighbours and your friends far and wide to your place for a feed. So the temptation is there to buy plastic plates to make your life easier. But did you know that these plastic items take between 500 and 1000 years to break down? And while they are swanning around in landfill they are leaching toxins into our ground water. So chose an alternative like compostable plates and cutlery made from corn starch and sugar cane pulp. They are comparable in price and wont harm the environment. Set up a compost bin close to the gathering and stick a sign on it for what can go in the bin.
No disposable plastic bottles. With our beautiful warm Christmas weather the temptation is there to buy those huge packs of 24 plastic wrapped, plastic, disposable, bottles of water, or soft drinks packaged in plastic. But did you know some plastics never break down, discarded drink bottles account for 38% of landfill and it takes seven litres of water and one litre of oil to make 1 litre of bottled water!!!! Okay so enough preaching, what’s the alternative? Drink dispensers, jugs, punch bowls are excellent receptacles for your Summer beverages and add just a little retro touch to your party.
Be straw free. 500 million disposable plastic straws are used and discarded in the United States each day, which is enough to fill 127 school buses daily! As plastic doesn’t biodegrade, it photo degrades which means it just breaks up into smaller and smaller plastic particles which clog our waterways, enter our oceans and are consumed by small fish and sea birds. The CSIRO has estimated that almost all sea birds will have plastic in their gut by 2050. Straws aren’t a party essential so just don’t use them or if you must, then opt for the paper (compostable) alternatives.
Buy in bulk to save money and packaging. One of the most challenging parts of catering an event is avoiding packaging but it can be done. Things like condiments can be bought in bulk and portioned out into bowls, buy meat from a butcher and have him pack into your own containers, buy baked goods from a baker and ask them to do the same. Fruit and veggies can be bought at the market and you can take along your own produce bags or paper bags for the grower to fill. Shop with reducing your packaging in mind and the alternatives will become apparent. Also allow yourself enough time to shop for your food items so you don’t give in to the last minute rush to the store.
Opt for a BYO and TYO event. Yeah you’ve heard of BYO (bring your own) but what’s TYO? Well it’s “take your own”, meaning waste! Bring your own plate of food to share and take the plate home with you. Bring your own beverages and take your own bottles home to be recycled. Bring your own chocolates and chippies and … leave them with me! We are all conscious of our expenditure over Christmas and getting together for a shared meal is what it’s all about. No one expects that you should blow your whole Christmas budget entertaining them, and many foodies love the opportunity to showcase their signature dish, so let them! In fact, if they are willing, ask them to provide an email with their recipe that you can pass on to everyone who came (just a thought).
Well there are probably many more ways that you can “go Green” over Christmas, and these are just a few. If you have some ideas please share them in the comment section below and help all of us to walk a little lighter on the planet.
It’s day 2 of the 21 Day Eco Challenge and today is about recycling.
We are so lucky in Australia as the majority of us have easy access to curb side recycling through our City Councils. Other smaller towns have places they can take their recycling to which are close at hand and yet we send enough tin cans to landfill each year to make 40,000 fridges! Crazy!
So today’s challenge is to learn what goes into the recycling bin and practice recycling each and every day. I have a printable which is appropriate for this area but you local council’s website is bound to have one too. So print it out and paste it to the front of the bin in you house and teach everyone what goes in it and what goes in the normal household waste bin.
Are you up for the challenge?
If you would like tips like this (and a short video of me telling you same) direct to your inbox every day for the next 19 days then just click the big green button and sign up. It’s that easy to make small changes to walk a little lighter on the planet.