Innovative small business owners in Ballarat are playing a key role in reducing the creation of plastic waste.
We Bar None is the only plastic free snack food company in Australia using home compostable packaging and new company Zero Plastics Australia is recycling plastic lids into new products.
Eco Enviro Concepts recycles used coffee cups to create seed pods for planting and Green Earth Kids is providing an option for parents to purchase plastic free children's toys.
These four businesses alongside community groups The Hidden Orchard and Ballarat Wholefoods Collective were on show at a Plastic Free July event hosted at Barkly Square on Thursday.
Waste is everyone's responsibility.Cr Belinda Coates
A stall hosted by passionate community members provided information and resources to help people reduce their own plastic waste.
We Bar None owner and The Hidden Orchard founder Ellen Burns said it was exciting to see small Ballarat businesses addressing the issue of plastic waste.
"I find it empowering to take that issue into your own hands," she said.
"The fact small local businesses can do it while making a profit shows it is possible."
Ms Burns said it was admirable and easy for the everyday person to reduce their plastic waste but reaching zero waste could only reasonably be achieved with big changes in business and industry.
"I was very happy to be a leader as the first snack business in Australia using plant based packaging, but for it to still be such a novelty three years later, it is quite frustrating how slowly it seems to move," she said.
"But businesses will make what they think consumers want, so consumers really have to put their money where their mouth is and support sustainable businesses and those that are trying to cut out plastic."
Ms Burns said a good step for individuals to reduce waste was to take note of everything thrown into their rubbish bin and make changes to avoid creating each waste item.
City of Ballarat councillor Belinda Coates said a visit to the Smythesdale landfill site earlier this month was a shocking reminder rubbish did not disappear once the garbage truck made collections from your home.
A $2 million cell built in 2019 site took less than three years to fill and council now needs to build a new one.
"Waste is everyone's responsibility," Cr Coates said.
"It is really important to remember the waste that doesn't get recycled or reused goes into a big whole in the ground called a landfill cell and they are enormous.
"It's around 70 truck loads of waste that goes through the landfill site every day. That is the end of life for everything that ends up there.
"We know plastic is one of the worst products for breaking down and it can remain intact for hundreds of years."
Cr Coates said the best strategy was to avoid creating waste in the first place, then reducing, reusing and recycling.
"We need households, businesses, industries, organisations and all levels of governments pushing in the same direction to make a difference," she said.
Plastic Free July is a global movement that encourages people to refuse single-use plastics and provides resources to reduce waste in the community.
Visit plasticfreejuly.org/ for tips on how to reduce your plastic waste.
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