Written by Sasha Mainsbridge
Single use plastics are finally status non grata. Bags, straws, coffee cups, water bottles and take away containers are all on the hit list of the growing community of conscious consumers. Many inspired by the ABC TV Series “War on Waste” that will air it’s 5th episode on July 24 with target items including plastic straws and single use water bottles.
Mullumbimby was flooded with Plastic Free July in 2016 when Mullum Cares ran a town wide campaign that supported many traders to kick the plastic bag habit, including our IGA who stopped supplying 150 000 per year after their initial 2 week trial was so well received. We also crowdfunded for a filtered water fountain that was officially unveiled on the opening night of that year’s Mullum Music Festival (a single use plastic cup and bottle free event).
With momentum high and the impending push from the War on Waste to swell the tipping point that might possibly make plastic straws a thing of the past, Mullum Cares decided to extend the hit list to include balloons as a single use item that regularly escapes to the environment posing deadly risks to wildlife. And for what? A splash of promotion or festive decoration? There are safe alternatives including beautiful bunting!
Many of Mullum’s businesses chose to use reusable stand up fabric banners to signal that they are open and to catch your eye as you’re passing. The newsagent is a Lotto provider and they are supplied with promotional balloons but they have elected not to put them out during our Plastic Free July Bunting Love campaign. Please thank them and encourage them to keep them away!
Balloon releases in massive numbers don’t happen in Australia but globally they still do and the impacts to wildlife are devastating.
But decorations including balloons are left behind in our public parks regularly so it’s something we felt needed addressing. Countless times my son’s and I have cleaned up after other peoples parties at Torakina Park in Brunswick Heads. Fabulous table paintings have since been undertaken to make it clear that balloons aren’t turtle food!
We are running Bunting Making Bonanza’s during the first few weeks of July to inspire and teach our community how to make both paper and fabric bunting but if you’re time poor and want some pronto head into Shanti Town in Burringbar St, Mullum and pick up some made from off cuts from garment manufacturing or from Mullum Instyle Living who have plain bunting that you can decorate.
We hope to get as much bunting up inside and out front of our shops to decorate the town by the end of July and trigger conversations about our festive behaviours and how much more fun it is to celebrate and catch buyers attention without guilt:)
For more information about the global campaign see balloonsblow.org and for local inquires contact me, Sasha, on 0422 641 474 or check out the Bunting Making Bonanza events listed on the Mullum Cares Facebook page. Happy Plastic Free July:)