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Sydney is one of the most beautiful cities in the world – a magnificent harbour, fringed by white sandy beaches and green spaces. These natural icons and man-made wonders like the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge attract millions of visitors every year… yet those wonders (and the lucrative tourist dollar), are threatened by the plague of plastic and other rubbish proliferating in our waterways and coastline. There is already a huge effort being made to take back the rubbish we are producing. State and local governments spend over $150 million each year combating litter. Businesses and home owners spend even more, and every week hundreds of groups are cleaning up beaches, parks and streets. Despite these efforts, we are still flooded with garbage.
Our surveys to quantify the amount of rubbish entering the environment each year have uncovered staggering figures. The Boomerang Alliance estimates that over 40,000 tonnes of rubbish are entering the NSW environment each year – that’s 5 ½ kgs for every person in NSW! In some spots around Sydney city, our team identified as many as 36,000 individual pieces of litter per hectare of public open space. Not only does this rubbish spoil our landscape – it hurts local business and the state economy.
Of course, tourism is a major driver of the NSW economy, with Destination NSW valuing the tourism industry at over $15.3 billon per year. Our efforts to keep our city streets, parks and waterways clean makes good economic sense.
With the container deposit scheme having begun in NSW in December 2017, there is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to wage our own war on waste!
To that end, we have founded CitizenBlue to earn funds from the drink container refund scheme, to support programs to stop waste to water.
We invite business, government and the community to join us in taking back our rubbish, and making Sydney the cleanest city in the world!
Click Here to Learn More About How we’ll do it
Many of our larger coastal communities are really struggling to cope with the flood of rubbish imported into their towns. Most communities’ stormwater and sewage runs down our mountains and foothills, before being disgorged into the ocean, already struggling with a tourist and visitor population that can double the waste generated by its residents.
Five of our members (Boomerang Alliance, CleanUp Australia, Green Connect, Landcare, Surfrider Foundation) have programs to bring community, business and government together to help make your community rubbish free, please register your interest here or click on each group’s link.
Hats off to the NSW Government, which in September 2015 made ‘Keeping Our Environment Clean’ a priority for the state and aims to “reduce the volume of litter in NSW by 40%, by 2020”. This, combined with the tough new litter laws and the commencement of “Return & Earn” in December 2017, has sent a clear message that the rubbish on our streets and waterways isn’t OK.
Recycling is one of the environmental activities that everyone has embraced. Australia’s kerbside recycling system reaches roughly 97% of the population, but when you’re drinking a juice after a walk along the beach, recycling isn’t as easy. The Reverse Vending Machines (RVM) will do a great job of helping people recycle the containers they consume at home but they can’t be expected to be on every street corner. To complement that effort and cut the amount of rubbish in streets, parks and beaches, CitizenBlue will offer business, events and local government specially designed recycling bins to be installed and serviced by us across the city. We have also entered into a partnership with Coca Cola Australia to offer bins that can collect for charities. Check out our story here.
All hands on deck are required to clean up the environment.
From picking up the rubbish to refund schemes and recycling depots to making new products can create a circular economy where resources are not wasted. CitizenBlue has a role, as do many other community and business groups.
Check out this video here.