Granite Belt residents wage war on waste
AUSTRALIANS generate 52 megatons of waste each year.
This figure - and ideas on how to reduce it - have been at the forefront of many minds since the ABC screened its three-part documentary series War on Waste.
Stanthorpe's Feast n Farmin' cafe owner Yvette Giannake (pictured) is among the Granite Belt residents doing something to help us change our wasteful ways.
Mrs Giannake has taken several steps to avoid waste at her cafe on Stanthorpe's Railway St, from discounts for customers who bring reusable coffee cups to an absence of plastic take-away cutlery and a system where they supply scraps for compost to members of the community.
"You can only do what you can do, but you have to try," Mrs Giannake said.
The cafe was recently vocal on social media about the importance of reducing waste, including disposable coffee cups that contain plastic lining and cannot be recycled.
"I think it helps if you offer some kind of economic incentive but... you have to be interested to bother," she said.
Brooke Summerville last year founded the Stanthorpe branch of Boomerang Bags - a group working to fill communities with reusable fabric bags.
She has often voiced concerns about avoidable waste, but hopes the current buzz around sustainability will bring about lasting change.
"For some people, seeing something on the television can help them understand... what they can do," she said.
Ms Summerville and fellow Boomerang Bags volunteer Kylie Hibberd gave out more than 100 free bags to Stanthorpe residents on Monday for World Environment Day.
"Most people have been very receptive to the idea, and thankful," she said.
While War on Waste shed light on mammoth levels of food, plastic and textile waste, she hoped it would encourage society to spring into action.
Ms Summerville welcomed the State Government's decision to ban single-use plastic bags from next year.
But she hoped it would tighten loopholes revealed in the three-part series, which had some businesses using thicker plastic bags and others simply charging for them.
But she said consumers had an easy choice to resolve this - always having a fabric bag handy.
See next Thursday's Border Post for a feature on more ways the Granite Belt is tackling waste.