"Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world: indeed it’s the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead
Who are you voting for?
It's difficult for us to ask politicians to hold themselves to a higher standard of account if we vote for ourselves, our comfort, and profits for today, and not for the future.
Are you voting for next week, next year, next decade? Are you voting for yourself, your family or your grandchildren?
Who are you voting for?
Since 2009 we have driven a campaign to ensure the world neither needs, wants or uses disposable cups. Together with hundreds of organisations, we have drawn attention to the non-recyclability of single-use products, to the devastating impact of convenience culture and called on individuals to change their behaviour.
The IPCC’s most recent report shows that many of the impacts of global warming are now irreversible, and more than 40% of the world’s population are highly vulnerable to the threats of climate change. The action is now all too obvious and there certainly is global cultural consensus on the urgent need to remove single-use plastic and transition to renewables. The finite resources of the planet mean that the move to a circular economy to recover and reuse is inevitable, it’s just a question of how much more of the last wild places we destroy before this happens.
So where do the governments stand in all this? Change takes strategy, vision, planning. We require both system change and clear vision, as well as national budgets that support the strategy.
While many of our customers may find themselves in a much more favourable political environments, we believe that some of the underlying issues are geo-agnostic. If we view the scale of the impact of single-use plastic consumption and recyclability rates in global terms, it only becomes more daunting.
Australia is already set to fail on our goal of achieving a 70% recovery rate of plastic packaging waste by 2025 and many have labelled Australia’s plan of net-zero emissions by 2050 a “fraud”. How is your country tracking? The Australian government’s latest investment towards the recycling sector and the access to new and innovative waste technology will no doubt see some change in the way we recycle plastics, but cleaning the mess is simply not enough. The budgets must both lay the foundation for transition to circular economy and accelerate the transition to renewables, otherwise we’re simply missing the point.
What can we do as individuals? We need to hold the relevant parties accountable and it’s time for the government to step up with concrete action to achieve real and tangible results. And we must vote for the future we want.
We also need to advocate to change how and where products are designed, manufactured, delivered in the first place. As an Australian business, it’s all too common of a conversation for us. No glass or steel consumer products are made in Australia. Some big corporations do own supply chains that could easily create reuse and refill programs, but the budget fails as a tool to incentivise industry-wide change. For example, in parts of Canada the average beer bottle is washed and refilled 15 times before being recycled.
"We need to hold the relevant parties accountable and it’s time for the government to step up with concrete action to achieve real and tangible results. And we must vote for the future we want."
What about business contribution?
It is galling to watch the PR and celebration given to climate pledges that never eventuate. Last month’s New Climate Institute and Carbon Market Watch report revealed the climate pledges of most multinational firms cannot be taken at face value and has highlighted the severity of the greenwashing issue we have on our hands. When you see it, call it out.
Everyday Australians have shown their willingness to act over and over again, switching to reusables, accounting for the highest rates of domestic solar in the world! The budget, any budget ought to have more incentive for businesses to move to circular economy, and penalties for those who are falling behind.
So when you vote in 2022 or the very next time opportunity opens, vote for people who have a long term vision, vote for the sustainable future of your country. If we stand for nothing, we fall for anything.
By Abigail Forsyth, KeepCup Co-Founder and Managing Director