Hitting the beach with his two year-old son Banjo, NSW Greens MP Justin Field had a horrifying realization.
‘I grew up on the beach picking up shells,’ he recalls, ‘but my son, he picks up plastic. And that is the difference in one generation.’
The Greens NSW member for legislative council, Justin is the spokesperson for fair trade finance, small business, trade, treasury and sport.
But ultimately, his passion resides in the health of the marine environment.
And earlier this winter, Justin visited remote Lord Howe Island where plastic pollution is insidiously infecting the natural environment.
A UNESCO heritage site of global natural significance 780 kms north east of Sydney, this once pristine tiny landmass is being pounded by an unrelenting tide of marine plastic sweeping from Australia’s east coast. And the impact on the island’s increasingly decimated shearwater population is providing an alarming barometer for the apocalyptic state of our oceans and marine wildlife.
Following an eye opening and harrowing expedition, Justin spoke with Boomerang Alliance of his firsthand encounters with animals ‘bulging with plastic.’
In the wake of a wave of industrial phase-outs, he discussed the ultimate role of legislation in the war against waste and why altering cultural habit is key.
And taking square aim at the laughable Berejiklian environmental platform while also lambasting ‘disappointing’ Malcolm Turnbull, Justin gave his take on Labour’s eco promises and the Green’s ever-growing parliamentary influence.
Industry giants and community groups JOIN FORCES to tackle Australia's plastic packaging waste crisis
Australia's retail giants, industry leaders and community groups converged on Bloomberg Australia HQ in Sydney on Thursday July 12 for a unique environment sustainability forum, The Future of Plastic Packaging - Driving Change for Consumer Packaged Goods.
Hosted and facilitated by Boomerang Alliance director Jeff Angel and deputy director Jayne Paramor - in thanks to the generous support of Bloomberg Australia - representatives from environmental and sustainability authorities and organisations met with community groups, leading commercial retailers and industry giants to discuss the future of plastic packaging in consumer goods and the infrastructure holes that need to be filled to improve Australia's capacity on waste collection, processing and recycling.
Plastic packaging is under attack in the war on waste.
At the end of April, Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg announced 'all packaging would be recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025'. And while considered an ambitious target by some, Natures Organics CEO Justin Dowel regards the push as 'a joke!'
'It is a joke, to be honest,' he declared. 'Why are talking about 'recyclable?' Most plastics are recyclable! The problem is, we’re not recycling most of the plastic. What we need to be doing is setting targets for recycled plastic, not recyclable. There’s no point recycling if we have no use for recycled.
And Dowel should know. His family-owned enterprise manufactures environmentally sound cosmetic and cleaning brands including Australian Pure, Organic Care and Earth Choice.
Boasting all natural plant-based ingredients and made from renewable sustainable sources, the packaging is moulded from PET recycled plastic, derived primarily from locally-discarded beverage bottles.
Arguably the only company to do so in Australia en masse.
Born from his father's company Trydel Research, originally a contract-filling manufacturer producing bath cubes founded in the Fifties, the eco-conscious Terry Dowel eventually saw a great opportunity in pioneering natural formulations as nobody was doing it at the time. Aged just 21, Justin joined the family legacy in '91 - the same time the company changed its name to Natures Organics - and dug the business out of receivership,
27 years later, the company now shifts 56 million units annually and prides itself on an endless plastic loop. But the struggle to survive in an industry dominated by megacorps importing from operations in cheaper climes, means the company is under constant pressure to evolve. But Justin is devoted to the Natures Organics eco philosophy, perpetuated by his visionary father.
In advance of his appearance at Boomerang Alliance's The Future of Packaging Forum on July 12 proudly supported by Bloomberg, the CEO talks tricky retailer relations, federal inaction and closing the loop.
Think you know how to recycle? Think again as Boomerang Allliance's Jayne Paramor talks to News.com.au through the Do's and Don'ts of recycling
PLEASE NOTE **Households should always check with their local council's waste handling capabilities**
The Do's and Do Not's of Recycling
Plastic Beverage Bottle
*Take the label off - that doesn't go into recycling bin but can be recycling at your local RedCycle Bin
*Take off the cap and separate it because mixed plastics makes it more difficult to recycle. Place in the recycle bin
*Remove the safety ring [can get caught round the necks of baby turtles] and place that in the recycling bin along with the bottle
Disposable Coffee Cup
*The lid goes into the recycling bin
*The cup is not currently recyclable - fold it up and place in your regular waste
*Remove remaining food pieces
*Separate part of box with any food contaminant from part of box that s uncontaminated
*Place contaminated piece in regular waste and uncontaminated in the recycling
*Remove cap from bottle
*Remove collar from wine bottle
*Place lid, collar and bottle in recycling bin
*Remove any handles made from synthetic material from the bag
*These materials can be used for numerous purposes around the house
*Place bag in recycling
*Plastic straws suck!!
*They can't be recycled
*Avoid at all costs
*Invest in an alternative - metal, heavy paper, bamboo - even macaroni!!
PLEASE NOTE **Households should always check with their local council's waste handling capabilities**Read more
June 20 - It's a Red Letter Day here at Boomerang Alliance as Woolworths' highly anticipated lightweight plastic bag ban finally comes into effect - kicking off a tsunami of legislation and industry phase-out action taking place across Australia in the coming weeks and months.
After 2500kms, 10 towns and thousands of collected containers, the successful Big Bottle Tour culminated with special deliveries to the electoral offices of Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Leader of the Opposition Matthew Guy - and a PRIMETIME appearance on ABC NEWS.Read more
Pete Ceglinski, CEO and co-founder, Seabin Project
Disillusioned by the rising level of plastic waste in the waters off Perth, Pete Ceglinski felt compelled to find a solution. And together with close friend Andrew Turton, they hit upon with a simple idea – a rubbish bin for the water.
Constructed from reclaimed polyethylene ocean debris, the Seabin is an effective model – a floating bin fitted with a five-litre mesh bag attached to a pump which sucks in waste and filters out debris-free water.
Placed in a marina, harbour or any waterway with a calm environment, one seabin has the extraordinary capacity to capture 500 kilos of debris annually including 90,000 shopping bags; 50,000 plastic bottles and 35,000 disposable coffee cups.
Additionally, it can catch cigarette butts, plastic particles and microplastics as little as 2mm in size.
And currently in development, the invention should soon be equipped to trap microfibres.
A successful Crowdfund campaign at the end of 2015 lead to manufacture and distribution operations in Palma, Mallorca. The Seabin was tested in a pilot trial in the waters off French coastal resort, Le Grande Motte on the Cote D'Azur and after a introductory video went viral with over 10 million views, orders flooded in from locations throughout the Mediterranean before spreading to the rest of Europe and North America.
And now with orders tapped for waterways in Sydney and Melbourne, the Seabin is finally coming home.
Armed with an ambitious ten-year plan including developments in scientific research with their not-for-profit Share Programme, Ceglinski ultimately envisions a direct assault on open water pollution with eventual designs on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
And while critics have voiced their reservations, branding the model 'gimmicky', the CEO has shrugged off the naysayers.
"We’re not telling you that the Seabin is going to save the ocean, when it’s not. It’s just going to clean up some of the mess we put in it.”Read more
As Councils and Local Government authorities across Australia consider Waste to Energy as a solution to the current recycling crisis, Boomerang Alliance explains why burning our waste is not the solution to the problem.Read more
27 April 2018: Environment groups described today’s Environment Ministers’ meeting as a ‘work in progress’, with Ministers yet to prove that they have adequately responded to the opportunities created by the loss of Chinese markets for our kerbside recycling.Read more
The growing rush to incinerate recyclable materials in response to the current loss of export markets, is entirely the wrong way to go, the Boomerang Alliance of 47 national, state and local groups said today.Read more