Did you know that this week is Keep Australia Beautiful week? The Keep Australia Beautiful movement was founded in 1968 and has been working towards a sustainable and litter free Australia ever since.
Never before has it been so challenging yet so important to look after our country. There aren’t any community litter cleaning events this year due to COVID-19 so the approach is a bit different. We need to focus on how to ensure litter doesn’t reach our bushland and waterways in the first place.
For us at Afea, having a beautiful country isn’t just about cleaning up. We believe our country is also beautiful because of our actions and the way we treat each other. Here are some things we can do as individuals and families to keep Australia beautiful.
Don’t throw litter on the ground
This is an obvious one. When you’re out and about, always find a bin for your rubbish and if there isn’t a bin, take it home with you. It’s particularly important to make sure we throw out litter away as it can help stop the spread of disease. Also, make sure don’t leave your cigarette butts on the floor. Aussie smokers dispose of billions of butts each year which could end up in nature.
Try not to use single-use plastics
Before this year, we were doing well at reducing single-use items – using a Keep Cup was becoming habitual and some restaurants would even allow take-away in reusable containers. That’s all changed due to COVID-19, as these reusable containers could be too much of a hygiene risk for restaurant staff.
However, we should still be mindful of the number of single-use plastics we are using. Try to make more food from scratch and when you do get takeaway, ask for eco cutlery that is made of wood or bamboo. Or ask for no plastic cutlery at all if you’re eating your meal at home.
Recycle where you can
You can recycle your single-use coffee cups at any 7-Eleven store. They take any cup brand (plus the lids) and upcycle them into meaningful new products. According to their website, used cups have been turned into outdoor furniture, garden beds and even a road.
Your plastic take-away containers can also be recycled but make sure you rinse them before putting them in the recycling bin. Food can contaminate other clean recycling and the whole lot could end up in landfill. Not what anyone wants!
Don’t put rubbish into already full bins
Don’t you hate it when you see birds or other wildlife picking out rubbish from an overfull bin and spreading it across the grass or road? It makes a huge mess and is a leading cause of litter ending up in our environment. If your bin is full, check with your neighbours and see if you can put a bag in theirs. It’s a bit inconvenient looking for another bin but it’s better than all our waste ending up in our waterways or bushland.
Rethink the plastic you use every day
Think about the number of single-serve items you buy and whether you could buy bigger serves. For example, could you buy bigger yoghurt containers rather than single-serve pots? Could you put your child’s lunch into a sealed lunch box instead of wrapping in cling wrap? Every time we use less plastic, the environment thanks us.
Share the beauty of Australians
Sometimes, we get caught up in ourselves and don’t notice the beauty both in nature and the people around us. Next time you’re out and about, try to share the beauty of human connection. Say hello to the people you walk past and share a smile. You could even point out the lovely sunrise or comment on the weather. You could share your own beautiful nature by doing a good deed – pay it forward by buying a coffee for the person behind you or some groceries for a neighbour.
Australia is a stunning country with amazing people. It’s never been more important to keep Australia beautiful and be thankful we live in such a lovely corner of the world.