Keep Australia Beautiful Week: Take The 7-Day Plastic Pledge

Keep Australia Beautiful Week scenic shot overlooking a beach

We may have just come out of Plastic Free July, but August is encouraging us to keep the environmental messaging momentum going with the annual Keep Australia Beautiful Week.

Australia is world renowned for its spectacular natural beauty. We boast picture perfect sunrises between towering limestone stacks along Victoria’s famous coastline, the Great Ocean Road, and stunning desert sunsets behind our sacred sandstone monolith, Uluru in the Northern Territory’s Red Centre. We can see crystal-clear views from the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Circular Quay, walk rugged mountain ranges in the Tasmanian wilderness, and explore wet and wild tropical rainforests in Far North Queensland.

However, behind every picturesque landscape or tourist attraction is a downside; an ugly side, a human side. Population means people, and with people comes pollution, especially plastic pollution. Held from August 16th – 22nd 2021, this year’s Keep Australia Beautiful Week theme is ‘Australia’s 7-Day Plastic Pledge’. They’re putting plastic in the spotlight, urging Australians to refuse plastic to prevent it from becoming litter.

When was the last time you went to the beach? I bet you did high kicks across the carpark and shore, trying not to burn your bare feet on the buckling asphalt, then the hot sand. The sun was beating down on bronzed, bikinied bodies, stretched out like starfish on stripy towels or under shady sun shelters. But the sun was reflecting off of something else too. A pile of plastic water bottles glared at you from under the boardwalk. You squinted, looked a little closer, and noticed more. Foil Cornetto wrappers jutted out of the rubbish like little shark fins, and squashed Coke cans rattled down the rocks in the wind. Plastic bags were tangled up in sign posts and wire fencing, waving like the red & yellow lifeguard flags in front of you, just seconds away from wriggling free and floating off into the waves.

If you took a stroll around your local lake or along a river recently, you wouldn’t noticed as many floating islands of junk as there were ducks and fish, bobbing up and down along the current and taken away to join up with other water ways.

Keep Australia Beautiful Week volunteer picking up plastic

Plastic is a big problem, and one that can last a dozen lifetimes. Did you know that plastics can take up to 1000 years to decompose in landfill? Frightening, isn’t it? And the humble yet hazardous plastic bag, for example, can take 20 years to break down, while a plastic bottle can take a whopping 450 years! These items are often dumped or disposed of incorrectly, and find their way into drains and the ocean, quickly becoming a threat to animals and marine life that encounter or ingest it. A fast-food straw protruding from a distressed turtle’s nose, or a plastic ring around a dolphin’s snout preventing it from eating and breathing properly, have sadly become common occurrences in our oceans.

Sadly, our beautiful nation’s obsession with convenience over care is a contributing factor, and we need a lot of help to keep our country clean and green and protect our beloved and essential diverse ecosystems.

Founded in 1968, Keep Australia Beautiful was Australia’s first sustainable and anti-litter campaigner. The team behind the movement have been working with communities on a local, state, and national level for over 50 years. Each state and territory group offers a unique approach to sustainability, with litter management initiatives tailored to each region.

Keep Australia Beautiful have been instrumental over the decades in ensuring environmental issues haven’t fallen through the cracks. In 1972, then Prime Minister Gough Whitlam launched ‘Live Without Litter Week’, and television advertisement campaigns followed in the early 70s and 80s with ‘Don’t Rubbish Australia’, ‘Dopes Rubbish Australia’ and ‘This Little Pig’.

The 1990s saw the commencement of nationally recognised incentives, such as the Australian Environmental Awards for Schools and the Australian Tidy Towns Awards (a concept borrowed from Ireland). The 2000s saw the first branded Litter Study undertaken and published, a Beverage Container Recycling Grant funded by the Coca-Cola Foundation introduced, and the Adopt a Patch program launched.

More recently, 2011 saw the hilarious ‘Litterers Anonymous’ TV advertisement, featuring Australian personalities Derryn Hinch, Lara Bingle, John Jarratt, Nick Giannopoulos, Tania Zaetta and Russell Gilbert, and 2020 was when the ‘Do The Right Thing’ commercial aired.

The ABC also did their bit to promote Australia’s environmental and recycling crisis in 2017 & 2018 with Craig Reucassel’s landmark series the War on Waste, which kicked off conversations about plastic water bottles, straws, e-waste, fast furniture and fashion, and food waste, and sparked action across the nation.

Keep Australia Beautiful Week recycling symbol and reusable bag

Now, in 2021 – a year of prolonged hardship and uncertainty in the grip of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – you are still in control of your own actions, and Keep Australia Beautiful Week has 3 simple steps you can take that will have a big environmental benefit:

  1. Make a pledge: Choose what plastic item you’re giving up for the week and commit!
  2. Lead by example: Swap out your single-use plastic item with eco-friendly alternatives.
  3. Spread the word! Share how you’re ditching plastic and tell your friends about it.

We know breaking habits can be hard, so here are some easy alternative suggestions for the most common uses of single-use plastics:

✘ Coffee cups & lids

Reusable keep cups or ask for no lid

✘ Takeaway packaging

BYO container

✘ Single-use cutlery

BYO reusable cutlery

✘ Plastic water bottles

BYO refillable water bottles

✘ Pre-packaged fruit & veg

Buy loose or BYO mesh/canvas bags

✘ Disposable face masks

Washable, reusable face mask

✘ Cotton buds

Plastic-free or reusable buds

This Keep Australia Beautiful Week – and beyond – you can do your bit by reducing the amount of plastic you use in your everyday life. Another way to help, is to support us here at People4Ocean.

Our sun and after sun care range offers premium protection because it is made minus chemicals, instead prioritising natural and mineral ingredients such as Zinc Oxide. This deems us a certified reef-safe sunscreen, as we don’t use anything that will harm our oceans or marine life when it comes off of bodies and in to the water. We don’t dilute our formulas with any water or synthetic fillers either, resulting in concentrated creams of which a little bit goes a long way!

Our products are also vegan/plant-based and non-toxic, making it safe for pregnant women and children. The long lasting tube packaging is made from either 60% sugar cane resin and/or post-consumer recycled plastic, and is at least 100mL in size (because anything smaller does not get recycled in Australia). We are also accepting your empty tubes to be fully recycled and reused by our manufacturer in NSW.

Comments (0)

Leave a comment