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Byron Shire
August 2, 2021

Plastic free daze

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Mullum Cares’ Christina Eve, Mullum Chamber of Commerce president Janelle Stanford, Mullum Cares’ Sasha Mainsbridge and Leora Sibley. Photo Jeff ‘Cry Baby Bunting’ Dawson

For the third year the Shire is participating in the global Plastic Free July campaign along with more than two million people in 159 countries. The global campaign began as a humble initiative by WMRC Earth Carers in Perth in 2011 to avoid single use plastic convenience items including bags, straws, coffee cups, cutlery, take away containers and single use water bottles.

Plastic Free Byron has developed its website so the Shire’s cafes and takeaway businesses can be encouraged to remove plastic items and their progress celebrated.  Jump on their website to see if your favourite businesses need a positive message of encouragement.

Blue will be screening at the Byron Community Theatre on July 8 and Waste Free for the Sea’s new campaigns to reduce litter and single-use plastics will be launched.

The ABC TV series ‘War on Waste’ has catapulted the plight of Australia’s wastefull ways into the main stream consciousness and on July 24 its next episode will shine a light directly on the impact of plastic straws and single use water bottles on our marine environment.

Mullum Cares is extending the Plastic Free July focus to include the dangers of balloons to the environment. Offering instead the beauty of bunting as a safe alternative  founder Sasha Mainsbridge explains, ‘My kids and I have taken down countless party decorations that were left behind in the picnic shelters at Torakina beach in Bruns. We want people to either dispose of balloons responsibly or stop using them altogether.

Free bunting-making bonanzas are being run during July in Mullumbimby and Shanti Town sells bunting made from fabric scraps created during the manufacture of clothing.

‘The imagery you see of plastic in the ocean in places like Bali really is as bad as it looks! I saw it for myself in April this year’ Sasha said. ‘With China now refusing to buy back most of the plastic crap they sell us, Australia is now in need of a major reality check about the true impact of our addition to plastic. From cheap toys and games to the general explosion in plastic packaging of nearly every category of consumer good you can think of, we have got to find ways to remove plastic from our shopping trolleys where ever we can and we need strong government leadership to encourage new industries that turn our plastic waste into durable goods. Like choosing to have our submarines built in Australia, our government needs to look closer to home to meet its own needs and buy things like tables made from our own plastic waste rather than buying goods made from virgin materials grown and manufactured overseas.’

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