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Environment Centre NT - protecting nature, living sustainably, creating climate for a change

Dirty work for a good cause

Last month I was one of about 15 volunteers who put our hands up to pick through all the rubbish generated from the Parap Market, almost one 12-foot skip worth. There’s no glorifying it – it’s a dirty, smelly task but an important one.

 

Effective as of January this year, Darwin local council banned single use plastics at all events on council land. This was the second annual waste audit the Environment Centre NT and Waste Free NT has conducted, with volunteers sorting every piece of rubbish into different categories to be able to compare to previous years and find out if there has been a reduction, especially in single use plastics. Also of interest is what kinds of alternative non-plastic biodegradable packaging stallholders are transitioning to.

 

While its important to get data on exactly what is getting binned it is also a very eye-opening experience, one that everyone should participate in. When you buy your juice at the market in a plastic-lined paper cup with a plastic lid and a plastic straw, which you then put in the bin after 10-15 minutes of use (the same goes for coffee cups, takeaway containers, plastic cutlery etc), it’s easy to forget that hundreds of others are doing exactly the same thing every weekend of the year. The cumulative effect is a huge amount of waste headed for landfill.

 

When you’re confronted with a huge quantity of waste and sifting through it, it’s impossible to maintain an out of sight, out of mind approach to rubbish and the part we all play in the waste problem.

It isn’t hard to make small changes in thinking and habits to help reduce waste. Bringing your own bags and containers to the markets is a pretty easy step. Before you leave home grab your coffee cup, milkshake cup and reusable straw for your juice (do you really need a lid?) and bowl and cutlery for your favourite food. Conveniently, Parap Markets have a sink so you can rinse it all off and put it in your bag after you’re done.

 

You don’t have to get self-righteous about it but it will make you feel good and this way of thinking will probably start to permeate into all aspects of life so that when you go to make any purchase you might think: what is it packaged in? what is it made from? Where will it end up? How long will it last before it ends up there? And do I really need it?

Alice Nagy
Alice has worked with Aboriginal Ranger groups across the Top End supporting land and sea management programmes. She cares about the environment and tries to do her bit to help look after it.

Dirty work for a good cause

Last month I was one of about 15 volunteers who put our hands up to pick through all the rubbish generated from the Parap Market, almost one 12-foot skip worth. There’s no glorifying it – it’s a dirty, smelly task but an important one.

 

Effective as of January this year, Darwin local council banned single use plastics at all events on council land. This was the second annual waste audit the Environment Centre NT and Waste Free NT has conducted, with volunteers sorting every piece of rubbish into different categories to be able to compare to previous years and find out if there has been a reduction, especially in single use plastics. Also of interest is what kinds of alternative non-plastic biodegradable packaging stallholders are transitioning to.

 

While its important to get data on exactly what is getting binned it is also a very eye-opening experience, one that everyone should participate in. When you buy your juice at the market in a plastic-lined paper cup with a plastic lid and a plastic straw, which you then put in the bin after 10-15 minutes of use (the same goes for coffee cups, takeaway containers, plastic cutlery etc), it’s easy to forget that hundreds of others are doing exactly the same thing every weekend of the year. The cumulative effect is a huge amount of waste headed for landfill.

 

When you’re confronted with a huge quantity of waste and sifting through it, it’s impossible to maintain an out of sight, out of mind approach to rubbish and the part we all play in the waste problem.

It isn’t hard to make small changes in thinking and habits to help reduce waste. Bringing your own bags and containers to the markets is a pretty easy step. Before you leave home grab your coffee cup, milkshake cup and reusable straw for your juice (do you really need a lid?) and bowl and cutlery for your favourite food. Conveniently, Parap Markets have a sink so you can rinse it all off and put it in your bag after you’re done.

 

You don’t have to get self-righteous about it but it will make you feel good and this way of thinking will probably start to permeate into all aspects of life so that when you go to make any purchase you might think: what is it packaged in? what is it made from? Where will it end up? How long will it last before it ends up there? And do I really need it?

Alice Nagy
Alice has worked with Aboriginal Ranger groups across the Top End supporting land and sea management programmes. She cares about the environment and tries to do her bit to help look after it.