Every year, Australia consumes close to 3.5 million tonnes of plastic. That's an average of 130kg per person. Plastic 'imperfect' July was an initiative kickstarted by our internal sustainability team, CliMates, which provided an opportunity for staff to reduce and become more aware of their plastic usage.
This year, Kate Crewes, People and Culture Manager and Rachel Kinakin, Senior Business Development Specialist lead the initiative and opened the session by sharing a video The Air We Breathe. It shined a light on the amazing work Parley Australia do intercepting marine plastic pollution along the Great Barrier Reef. In the video, we travelled with Parley’s teams to the northern reaches of the country to explore how they’re collaborating with Traditional Custodians who have stewarded the land and ocean for millennia. While we watched, you could see the impact it was having on the staff in attendance. It was emotive and confronting, but most of all motivating, and segued into an open discussion on the impacts of change they could all make, big or small.
Kate and Rachel also shared their stories and inspiration behind their passion for reducing their plastic usage. Kate ended the session by sharing her favourite quote "I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do" - Edward Everett Hale. Reiterating that we shouldn't let the size of this task stop us from doing something.
Throughout July, Kate and Rachel inspired their colleagues to embrace the challenge. They presented a broad range of options for involvement, from focusing on reducing single use plastic and making the switch where possible, to signing up for Plastic Free July and going the whole month without plastic.
Many of our people jumped on board and signed up to the initiative, sharing product suggestions and words of encouragement via a dedicated Teams channel. Employees posted pictures of their bulk food store and plastic free groceries purchases, while some of our green thumbs showed off the herbs and vegetables they’d attempted to grow. There was even a plastic free (and vegan) breakfast hosted in the Sydney office, catered for by Miss Sina.
Ultimately, the aim of this initiative was to not only reduce plastic wastage for the month of July, but to develop long term habits. It was a huge success and we’re very proud of our incredible team members who took on this challenge.