War On Waste: Be the change

War On Waste: Be the change
June 1, 2017 KT Doyle
Now, if you’re sitting where I am, things are looking up. With JEANBAG’s focus on reducing denim waste in landfill, I’ve read lots about textile production, fast fashion, overconsumption, waste and recycling. And while, some days I’ve truly felt the weight of our global waste problem, I’m excited so many people are talking about it now and taking action.
Congratulations to the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) for taking on this overwhelmingly unglamorous issue in their three-part television series, War On Waste. Presenter, Craig Reucassel has brought us face to face with what is really happening in Australia when it comes to food waste, plastic pollution and our addiction to fast fashion.
Episode One lets us in on the despicable amount of food waste occurring on the front end of the supply chain, with the two supermarket juggernauts imposing ridiculous sizing standards on fruit and vegetables. One banana farmer in Far North Queensland said that on a bad day, they throw out 40% of their crop (which takes nine months to cultivate), because the bananas are slightly too long, short, fat, skinny, or the wrong shape and won’t be accepted. As a banana lover I was horrified at this arbitrary discrimination and I’m sure, just like me, you’ve made good use of the hashtag #sizedoesntmatter over the past couple of weeks, sending your support for fruit and veg of all shape and size to the supermarket giants. I mean c’mon, one of the beautiful things about mother nature is diversity!
Episode Two focused on our mindless consumption of one-use plastics. Takeaway coffee cups, plastic drinking straws and the most offensive of them all, the plastic bag. A shocking 8 million tonnes of plastic waste ends up in the ocean every year and will take centuries, if not millennia to break down. While banned in many countries, in Australia, we’re still using over 5 billion plastic bags a year. Craig’s delft hand in highlighting this issue to some of Australia’s politicians fell on seemingly deaf ears. Again, it’s not a photo-worthy subject to a campaigning member and it’s unhelpful when the Environment Minister won’t take time to be interviewed on the subject, so I guess it will take us, the consumer to fight for change. Some investigation into Tasmania’s lightweight shopping bag ban, showed how many businesses are getting around it, by supplying slightly heavier weight bags for shoppers. It’s just not good enough, we need to #BanTheBag. And until then, we need to refuse the bag.
The third episode looked into our addiction to fast fashion and the repercussions of wearing that cheap t-shirt once and throwing it out.

“According to WWF, it takes 2,700 litres of water to make one cotton t-shirt, that’s enough for one person to drink for 900 days. And, Australians are currently disposing of 6,000 kilograms of fashion and textile waste every 10 minutes.”

Just knowing these numbers, brings us closer to understanding the ‘purchase to landfill’ treadmill we’re on. Craig took four young fast fashion addicts on a journey through the fast fashion maze and highlighted why living this way is totally unsustainable. I’m hoping to see a bunch of new vintage and pre-loved fashion converts down at my local op shop over the coming weeks.
Uncovering just how much waste we produce as a nation has been a real eye-opener (even for me). In my mind, the greatest achievement of the War On Waste series is not disseminating hardcore facts around our national waste issue, but giving us knowledge, tools and tips to take action and reduce our impact. The exposé-style approach is light and sensitive and avoids chastising us. Instead, encouraging us to make small individual changes in how we live, because when added together, they’ll create massive change.
Visit the War On Waste website for more information on how you can make beautiful, impactful changes and to catch up or recap on episodes from the series.
For more information on up-cycling your denim jeans with us, visit our Recycle Me page and we’ll make sure your old cut-offs stay in circulation and out of landfill.
x KT