Well, we did it again – Gunk in the Gulf, and what we can do – was a thought provoking forum with heaps of fascinating information to digest (pardon the pun) about the problems caused by plastics in the (not just) marine environment.

We were most fortunate to hear from four terrific speakers – all passionate about understanding the economics, complexities, ethics and implications of waste that ends up in our oceans – and particularly the pervasiveness and persistence of plastics.

John Phillips (CE of KESAB), Kristian Peters (AMLRNRM Marine Scientist), Sue Gibbs (Marine Mammal Biologist) and Sarah-Jo Lobwein (Marine ecology advocate) provided a range of angles on this vexing issue.

The elephant in the room for all speakers was the magnitude of rogue plastics in the world. There are five huge oceanic gyres of plastic swirling and growing larger – and our activities as consumers are NOT helping.

Common themes were:

  • Inconsistent policy here and abroad
  • Confusing and misleading information about plastics and recycling
  • A mismatch of resources, demand and ability to process recyclables
  • Insufficient information about options/alternatives
  • The importance of communities in taking action and effecting change

The impacts on marine animals and environments is shocking and graphic, but all to easy to NOT see. But our last speaker, Sarah-Jo, while reiterating much of what was said by John, Kristian and Sue, offered some practical actions that we can all take to turn around unconscious habits or even more importantly put pressure on retailers to change.

The take-home message is that we can ALL make relatively simple changes in our lives to stop adding to plastic wastes!

   

 Continuing on with our chat with Featured speaker Sarah-Jo Lobwein and the work she does in regards to single use plastics #swapforthesea 2. Plastics - what can’t you avoid or still struggle with finding an alternative? . “Dried Dog food that’s not overly expensive (but recently found a brand that is meant to be home compostable packaging but will have to see if it passes my dog’s taste test!), potato and corn crisps (there seems to be alternative to all other snack packaging except for these) and CDs – I have always loved the joy of purchasing a new music CD and most come in plastic hard or paperboard plastic covered. Those three all have alternatives, but they are my naughty weaknesses. . The main struggle for me, as a someone who is gluten AND lactose intolerant AND travels to remote places, is sometimes I have to eat a lot of rice or just accept the plastic until I find a way to get the venue or place to change. Usually I take my own packaging with me and then bring it home to recycle, for example when I am home my bread comes in paper or reusable bags, but travelling I will take with me gluten free bread in plastic sealed bags.” . Plastic Free July example of a ready to go reusable kit you can have waiting by the door as you head out. . . . . . . . . #waronwaste #waste #saynotoplastics #refuse #recycle #reuse #repurpose #upcycle #protectourgulf #saveouroceans #gogreen #nature #conservation #climateaction #marinedebris #beachcleanup #bethechange #adelaide #fogsv #friendsofgulfstvincent
 Continuing on with our chat with Featured speaker Sarah-Jo Lobwein and the work she does in regards to single use plastics #swapforthesea . 1. Plastics - what have become your favourite swap items? . “There are technological advancements and inventions, (or rediscoveries of what society used before we became addicted to plastic), all the time that amaze me – straws made out of wheat for example, and consumable soft bio plastic packaging of pasta made out of algae that we can just throw into boiling water etc. . But my favourites are the every day items – reusable, take your own or compostable straws, cutlery, takeaway containers, coffee cups, water bottles, shopping bags, paper bin bags and produce bags because they are so easy and accessible –humans were using them before plastic was invented or became prolific. The ones that reduce waste in general such reusable or not using an item at all is the best solution (such as not using a straw), and then compostable such as paper or bamboo. . Personally I can’t believe how empty my bins are once I phased out most plastics – I use the paper sandwich/ mushroom veggie bags or paper retail shopping bags for my bin and wash out the bin if it gets dirty (and there are businesses now that can come clean your bins!) - there is always an alternative.” . . . . . . . . #waronwaste #waste #saynotoplastics #refuse #recycle #reuse #repurpose #upcycle #protectourgulf #saveouroceans #gogreen #nature #conservation #climateaction #marinedebris #beachcleanup #bethechange #adelaide #fogsv #friendsofgulfstvincent

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