Australia has a culture of convenience that is heading toward runaway consumption.
We are living on the one planet that sustains life, but living as though we have 3 spare planets.(1) Our plastics, food, clothing, furniture, electronic goods are all manufactured for short-term use for our convenience with little thought as to what happens to them once they are thrown away. Indeed, the world of waste is largely invisible on a day-to-day basis. However, the consequences of our consumption have become so unwieldy they can no longer be ignored:
The contents of an average Australian household bin can be up to 50% food waste which results in methane emissions when it rots, and contributes approx 23% of Australia’s greenhouse gases(2)
Australia goes through one billion take away coffee cups each year, and they are not recyclable(3)
By 2050, there is likely to be more plastic than fish in the oceans (4)
These are horrifying impacts. Plenty of people are concerned and are taking action individually or in targeted areas of the waste system. What is missing is an overarching conversation about how we consume resources as a society, combined with grassroots people power to hold our power-holders to account.
We are interested in connecting people nationally to create systemic change. We are seeking to amplify and connect the voices and the changes we already see happening so we can achieve significant results.
Australia's waste system is in a period of tremendous change. China ceasing to take our recyclables has actually provided us with an opportunity to completely overhaul our management. We have an ambitious plan to create a comprehensive, transparent and easy-to-understand waste system- and we hope you will join us. On Thursday 18 October we launched the first part of our campaign - targeting organic waste recycling. You can find out more about our campaigns here.
There are several ways you can get involved. You can join the collective here. We have face-to-face meetings on Wednesdays (fortnightly) at Friends of the Earth, 312 Smith Street, Collingwood. Details are here on our Facebook Event page. If Melbourne is inconvenient, we meet online in the alternate weeks on Thursdays. Details are here.
If you’re interested in volunteering in some other way, please let us know. We can send you instructions for linking into our online decision-making space.
1. Monbiot, G 2018, ‘We won’t save the Earth with a better kind of disposable coffee cup’, The Guardian, 6 September, accessed 10 October 2018, <https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/06/save-earth-disposable-coffee-cup-green>.
2014, ‘What a waste: Aussie households throw out FORTY per cent of their food’, Daily Mail Australia, 14 July, accessed 10 October 2018, <https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2691202/What-waste-Aussie-households-throw-FORTY-cent-food.html>.
2016, Takeaway coffee cups piling up in landfill as Australia's caffeine habit soars, ABC News, accessed 10 October 2018, <https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-03/takeaway-coffee-cups-piling-up-in-landfill/7136926>.
2016, ‘More plastic than fish in the sea by 2050, says Ellen MacArthur’, The Guardian, 20 January, accessed 28 October 2018, <https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/19/more-plastic-than-fish-in-the-sea-by-2050-warns-ellen-macarthur>.