Written by John Williams
The proliferation of plastic has become an insidious plague on our planet and the prognosis is not good. There is a cure, however – stop using it and find an alternative.
Like any addiction, it is easier said than done. Plastic is so useful, and we have become completely reliant on its use. It’s cheap, it’s strong, it’s light, it’s waterproof… it’s totally amazing. However, it’s also toxic and it’s extremely difficult to dispose of or recycle – and there’s the rub.
The positive news is that there’s a growing awareness of the problem and the beginning of a willingness to do something about it.
For Robyn Ellson, one of Ray White Damerell Group’s top-selling salespeople, her journey to becoming plastic free started as a New Year’s resolution…
“I’ve always had an environmental conscience, but, like many people, when I get busy I tend to focus on work and forget about the planet… which isn’t great,” she admits. “Anyway, back in December I began seeing a lot of posts in my social feeds about plastic pollution in the ocean. From there, I started to build this awareness of all the plastic I was using, and I was horrified.”
Robyn was even more horrified to find out that, despite her best efforts, it was almost impossible to avoid plastic. She says the recent ban on plastic shopping bags by selected supermarket chains is commendable and a good start, but it’s the tip of the iceberg.
“If you go down any shopping aisle, plastic is absolutely everywhere,” she says. “And it’s these single-use plastics where each one of us can start to make a difference; by consciously making a choice not to buy a product if it is wrapped in plastic. If there’s an option I will now buy the product without the plastic, but unfortunately, most of the time there isn’t that option.”
With the bit firmly between her teeth, Robyn contacted the Sustainable Business Network (SBN) to find out whether there were any initiatives that she and her colleagues at Ray White Damerell Group could become involved with, not only on a personal level, but as a business too.
CEO Rachel Brown says one of SBN’s goals is to speed up the reduction of single-use plastics that enter into our physical environment by influencing and encouraging all the major brands to reduce their production and use of plastic.
“We need to make companies more responsible for the whole-life of the products they make and sell, and also to find alternatives to petroleum-based plastic,” she says. “Our message is that it’s not just about making a great looking product. It’s their responsibility to ensure that their product doesn’t end up polluting the environment. After all, no one wants their brand to be the one that’s washed up on the beach – that’s not a good look. That is not a proud moment.”
Show Us Your Lunchbox
Throughout July SBN is campaigning to get people to bring their own containers for take-away lunch. You don’t need a fab new container to get started - a spare kids' lunchbox, or even an old ice cream container will do the job just as well. Most takeaways and restaurants are happy to oblige. You can also look out for the SBN posters in participating food stores, declaring their commitment to the cause.
Get a photo of yourself using your container at a local eatery and connect it to SBN on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to be in to win prizes throughout July. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #showusyourlunchbox