Around 1,000 locals got directly involved in phasing plastic out of their lives in Coffs Harbour’s very successful Plastic Free July (PFJ) campaign.
The aim of PFJ is to cut out the use of single use plastic throughout July and hopefully begin lifelong habits. Targeting the most common single use items – plastic bags, plastic cutlery, takeaway coffee cups, plastic straws and plastic drink bottles – the campaign offered helpful alternatives such as canvas Boomerang bags, reusable keep cups, bamboo or steel cutlery, a steel or reusable drink bottle and going without a straw.
The three month long programme (June-August) delivered over 15 workshops and sewing bees, Plastic Free morning teas, beach walks, Toy Swaps, youth events, a Pop Up festival, film nights and an art competition, as well as the Scavenge.
The final event was the Sawtell Seaside Scavenge which had more than 90 scavengers combing the beach and reserve and collecting or sorting nearly 200kg of litter. All the litter found became ‘currency’ to swap for quality pre-loved clothes, books and bric-a-brac donated by the local community.
Volunteers recorded the litter collected and catalogued the data for Tangaroa Blue’s Marine Debris Database.
“There was a fantastic response from individuals and local businesses to the whole of Plastic Free July,” said Sustainable Living and Community Programs Coordinator Andrew Davis.
“People really embraced new ways of doing things so that they can cut down the amount of plastic in their lives and in the environment.
“Living so close to the ocean, and being so aware of the damage plastic does to marine mammals and habitats, meant that PFJ seemed to strike a chord and we were delighted to see the enthusiasm and willingness to change generated by the campaign.”
Local Sawtell businesses offered their support to the Scavenge by donating prizes and making a commitment to avoid the most common single use plastic items – straws, disposable coffee cups, plastic bottles and plastic bags.
To find out more about the results of the Sawtell Seaside Scavenge go to https://www.seasidescavenge.org/scavenge-history/2018/8/27/sawtell-seaside-scavenge
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