Four years ago, Laura Carrington moved to Largs Bay and was shocked at the number of plastic straws she saw washing up on the beach. She took it upon herself to clean up our natural environment by collecting plastic straws with her family and has now amassed a collection of over 1500.
As well as being involved in local environmental programs such as Adopt-A-Spot and Semaphore Compost Network, she also spreads awareness online. Her Facebook and Instagram pages ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Radelaide’ have been online since 2016 (www.facebook.com/groups/789511804493926), as a place for like-minded people to connect. As a hobby photographer, the photos she shares of her clean-ups and collections are eye-catching and engaging, which helps her to spread the message.
Laura said, “the litter often isn’t something people do on purpose, but is a by-product of plastic straws simply existing, where the weather blows them around or birds pick them out of bins”. She added “An overflowing bin isn’t a bin so hold on to your rubbish until you find one with space.”
Her advice for people is to just pick up a few things but stay safe, “Tidying up our environment isn’t as gross as people might think. Always be conscious of your own safety and use gloves, tongs and a bag or bucket.”
Laura approaches local businesses and encourages them to ditch plastic straws in favour of reusable option, and notes that the community attitude has changed over the years, ”People are realising that you don’t have to give up anything to start using reusable straws or reusable containers, other than to change your thinking towards it.”
“When you order takeaway or get a drink with your meal, ask for no straw, it’s as simple as that.”
Laura is currently collaborating with our City of PAE waste management team, helping to advise on waste education and environmental programs in the community.