Oct. 12, 2015

Locals kicking the plastic habit

Some addictions seem hard to break. Like PLASTIC. It’s all around us - in shopping bags, bottles, food packaging, furniture, nappies, containers, and appliances, even our clothing and disposable coffee cups.  

Scarily, this 100-year old invention is increasingly playing havoc with nature. It’s a sobering fact that in every square kilometre of ocean there are more than 18,000 pieces of plastic; harming sea turtles, fish and other poor unsuspecting marine life. 

It’s no wonder locals are ditching plastic in force. Even businesses are showing how easy it is. Second-hand bookshop and café Gertrude and Alice, for example, don’t use plastic bags and even have a reusable bag library for their customers, plus do staff training about why it’s important.  

Likewise, Bondi bakery, Organic Republic, has banned using disposable plastics and plastic bags. Like a number of cafes, they offer discounts to punters who bring their own coffee cup. Junia Kerr of Sage Beauty in North Bondi doesn’t use plastic packaging, and considers the sustainability of her retail products, including their recyclability. 

While these are other local business champions are doing their bit, a group of around 10 passionate and committed folks are planning to take ‘plastic-free’ to the next level. The soon-to-be-launched initiative - an exciting collaborative project between community members, local sustainability experts, not-for-profits and Waverley Council - is hoping to curb Bondi’s addiction to plastic bags with smart, simple and creative solutions.   

An idea borne from community forums, research and business brainstorms, the campaign for a plastic-free Bondi is set to kick off at Bondi Farmers’ Markets in October with reusable tote libraries. 

Ross Alexander, owner of Bondi Markets, and his team are excited to provide alternatives to plastic bags for his customers and stallholders with three new “bag libraries”. If successful, similar libraries will placed in other retail areas in Bondi.     

Community members are volunteering their time and skills, including Jonas Allen and Steve Muller from creative agency Bondi Advertising  who are working their magic on branding and communications to spread the word.  Jonas says, ‘I love living in Bondi and getting involved with a campaign to educate and encourage less plastic waste in the community’. Locals such as Sam Coffey, and artists including Brett Chan, Nick Hernandez and Luca Ionescu are also dedicating their creative juices to the project. 

Well-known photographer Eugene Tan has kindly donated an image for the first run of tote bags (thanks Aquabumps!). We are approaching interested artists to be part of subsequent runs, and seeking sponsorship from interested local businesses.  Bondi Beach School is also getting involved with artwork and stalls for decorating bags. 

To find out more come along to a pop-up stall at the Saturday Bondi Markets in  October (9am-1pm), or join in the launch on Saturday 17 October. It’s set to be a whole lot of plastic-free fun. Join us in kicking the habit…

For more info or to register interest in sponsorship or involvement, email [email protected].

By Nicola Saltman

First Published in The Beast Magazine


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