- 22 Feb 2019
Did you know that every year the waste we generate is growing at twice the rate of the population? It’s time to clean up.
One man’s vision to clean-up Sydney harbour in 1989 has since swept the nation and Clean Up Australia Day is now the nation’s largest community-based environmental event!
What is Clean Up Australia Day all about?
Getting as many people to dedicate their time, one day a year to helping clean-up an area in their community is what Clean Up Australia Day is all about.
Ian Kiernan, the man behind Clean Up Australia decided something had to be done about the amount of rubbish he saw floating in the world’s oceans following a solo around-the-world yacht race.
His simple idea of engaging with and mobilising the local community to dedicate a few hours of their time was a resounding success. Sadly, Ian passed away at the end of 2018, leaving the legacy of Clean Up Australia firmly embedded in Australian culture, but also engaging an estimated 35 million volunteers in 130 countries every year with Clean Up the World.
Why do we need Clean Up Australia Day?
One word, waste.
Modern living is conducive to producing waste. It has become standard for products to be wrapped in packaging that’s immediately thrown away. It has become normal to buy single-use products because they are convenient, and fast fashion because it’s affordable. We pay for bottled water and takeaway food and tend to replace broken items instead of fixing them.
Waste is created by almost everything we do, which is why Australians produce 50 million tonnes of waste each year, that equates to 2 tonnes per person1.
Why is waste a problem?
It's estimated 99% of everything you buy becomes waste within 6 weeks2, this amount of waste has a direct impact on the planet.
Even though we know we need to reduce the amount of waste we’re creating, waste is increasing at double the rate of the population. Just think, most households have a bin full of waste collected weekly, with approximately 9.4 million households in Australia3, it’s becoming harder to find appropriate landfill space for this volume of waste4.
It’s easy to forget that what ends up in landfill represent an investment in water, energy and natural resources5. For example, it’s estimated that bottled water manufacturers use three-times the amount of water to make the plastic bottle as it does to fill it with the water you drink from it6.
Waste not only uses resources and takes up space, but it also rots, and rotting waste releases carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. These gases contribute to the world’s increasing temperature4.
Some waste rots contributing to rising global temperatures, some waste isn’t going anywhere. We can credit plastics with many revolutionary products, but once it is created plastic lasts a long time. It’s estimated 300 million tonnes is produced globally each year, half of which is single use7, making it a growing problem for the planet.
Leachate is a liquid that drains or ‘leaches’ from landfill8. The waste from organic matter, acids, chemicals and rainwater combines to form leachate that contaminates waterways.
The impact of waste in our oceans is being highlighted more and more. It’s estimated 7 million tonnes of rubbish is dumped into the world’s oceans each year9, responsible for killing more than a million seabirds and 100,000 mammals every year10.
Why is ENJO supporting Clean Up Australia?
As a zero waste cleaning brand, cleaning up and reducing waste is what we do. We believe it’s important to be accountable for our impact on the planet, and we know it’s important to our customers and sales representatives too. This is why to celebrate ENJO’s 25-year milestone we wanted to use our passion and platform to help clean-up the waste that already exists.
We’re asking our sales representatives and customers across the country to join us in the clean-up on 3 March 2019, to actively make a difference.
How can we help prevent waste?
Getting involved with Clean Up Australia Day is an opportunity to do your bit for your local community, cleaning up waste that will ultimately remain among the local wildlife or enter the ocean.
Waste is almost impossible to avoid, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to make improvements to help make a difference.
7 tips for reducing waste and making a difference
Shop smart + think sustainable
When shopping for anything new putting a little thought into what you buy can make a world of difference. Ask yourself if what you are buying is made from quality materials and made to last. Has the company producing the product considered their impact on the environment? What is the product made from, is there a more sustainable alternative? Can the item be locally sourced? When it does come to replacing or disposing of the item, what impact will it have on the environment? Thinking these things through will help with making good purchasing decisions.
Avoid unnecessary packaging
Packaging is a big problem when it comes to waste, it actually represents 35% of landfill contents11. Despite the growing effort made by environmentally responsible companies to offer recyclable and reusable packing, most packaging is not functional and ends up almost immediately in a landfill or our oceans. Make an effort to purchase from those companies making the right choices when it comes to packaging – this will help drive change from the source.
Think about daily-use products
Products used daily are replaced more frequently and thus accountable for more waste than those one-off purchases. Items for skin care and personal hygiene have become so convenient, from disposable wipes to mini travel toiletries, but they account for our ever-growing plastic waste and water contamination. Sustainable skin care is a real thing and a very simple way to make a big difference to the environment.
Say no to single-use anything
Single-use products epitomise the problem when it comes to waste. We’ve been accustomed to thinking it’s easier to throw away a drink bottle or coffee cup instead of washing it up and using it again. It seems easier to throw away a makeup remover wipe and buy more than chose reusable products. We have all been hoarding hundreds of plastic bags in our cupboards with the good intention of using them again. However, saying no to single-use has become more common, with plenty of advice out there on reusable replacements.
Reuse, recycle and upcycle
Before you throw something away, think if someone else could benefit from the product? Can it be repurposed for an alternative use? If not, can it be taken apart and used for its parts or upcycled entirely? Investing a little time and effort into giving something a new lease of life is a beautiful thing. If all else fails, recycle where possible or research the appropriate method for disposal. Electronic waste is one of the fastest growing contributors to the waste system6, as outdated electronic items are disposed of, harmful substances are leaching into the environment. Most councils provide e-waste recycling services, visit the e-waste section of the Clean Up Australia website for more information.
Cleaning our homes is a must, but cleaning with chemicals is a big (and toxic) contributor to landfill waste. Consider this, there are approximately 9.2 million households Australia-wide7, if each of these households buys just one spray and wipe chemical cleaner per month, that would equate to 110,400,000 plastic bottles that have nowhere to go but landfill, over three years this would be equal to 331,200,000 plastic bottles littering the planet. Cleaning with ENJO would not only take chemicals out of the cleaning equation, but just 1 ENJO Glove and Miracle per household could combat the 331,200,000 plastic bottles entirely, as they work effectively for up to 3 years.
Clean Up Australia Day
Get behind the cause! Clean Up Australia day is on Sunday 2 March 2019, register to join the ENJO Team clean-up at a location near you. Alternatively, register your own clean-up site via the Clean Up Australia website.
[Editor’s note: this post was updated 15 January 2019]