We have waved goodbye to plastic straws!

Looking back to 2020, wow what a year that was!  Pandemics, lockdowns, uncertainty, and a whole lot of change. 

While COVID-19 has bought much sadness to many people globally, the curfews and lockdowns adopted by the world caused all types of social, economic, industrial and urbanisation activities to ease and allowed nature to take full advantage of the situation and press the reset button.  As a result, rivers became cleaner, air quality improved, noise pollution minimalised, and the wildlife remained undisturbed and calm.  Although this is a short-term solution to a gargantuous problem, we must find ways to use natural resources and live-in harmony with Mother Nature.

Then along came 2021, and the world continued to hold its breath, waiting for the next announcement…..

May saw the resurgent of The Waves Environmental Sustainability Committee with 13 fresh faces keen to make a positive impact on the earth’s environmental footprint.  It seems to have been a long slow road for the committee, with other company issues rightfully taking precedence.  However, I feel the group is making headway with the below steps already completed.

Step 1.             Write an environmental sustainability policy.                                                

Step 2.             Form a committee of like-minded people to help the club reduce its carbon footprint, brainstorm ideas, teach and mentor fellow staff members.  

Step 3.             Conduct a site assessment of the club, identifying areas that can be more efficient.                                                                                                         

Step 4.              Break down the findings of the assessment into achievable portions and start action plan.                                                                                                           

First item on our action plan was to replace all plastic straws throughout the club, in fact, about 12,500 of them.  In conjunction with the #Less is More for The Great Barrier Reef Campaign, The Waves Sports Club swapped all plastic straws for paper.  The #Less is More Campaign was the brainchild of Nicole Nash, a Marine Biologist and founder of the Last Straw on the Great Barrier Reef Campaign.  Nicole’s dedication and passion to remove single-use plastics from circulation began in 2016, when, previous research had shown that up to 130,000 tonnes of plastic ends up into our waterways and into the ocean each year. Over four years, Nicole collected evidence and supporting data that proved the harmful effect plastics were having on the Barrier Reef, and in August 2020 delivered the statistics of the campaign at a Public Hearing in Cairns.  Nicole’s submission assisted the Queensland Government in the passing of the Waste Reduction and Recycling (Plastic Items) Amendment Bill 2021.  The movement then lobbied 377 businesses to remove plastic straws throughout Queensland; this led to 22.5 million straws being removed from circulation between Bundaberg and the Torres Strait.  Australians used about 10 million straws every day, or 3.5 billion a year.  The straws collected in the Bundaberg region are being repurposed by REPLAS to make a bench seat for Mon Repos.

Another point of interest was a more sustainable use for the club’s fresh vegetable waste.  It was suggested by one of the committee member’s, to contact the Endeavour Foundation.  As such, The Waves will help feed the estimated 1.8 million composting worms currently taking residence on the Norville property.  Worm farming is a relatively new business for the Endeavour Foundation, and they intend to use the vermi-compost produced by the worms to not only fertilize their own farm paddocks, but to sell bulk vermi-compost and bulk aerated worm tea to the local horticultural industry.  This new arm of business for this worthy charity has to date employed an additional six supported employees and two staff members to supervise the project.

Stay tuned for more environmentally sustainable strategies implemented from The Waves Environmental Sustainability Committee as they continue their mission. 

“Be the change you wish to see in the world”