Zero Co's latest cleanup adventure on K'gari (more commonly known as Fraser Island) was one of a kind. We managed to collect a whopping 547kgs of rubbish over three days. We weighed and counted every single bit. All 21,159 pieces of it.
Hailing as the world's largest sand island, K'gari is a well known camping & eco-tourism spot. It's full forests, a lake & wildlife, and as we found out, plastic! Check out what some of the team had to say on their return home.
Laura - Customer Happiness Hero
What was your most significant reflection of the K'gari cleanup Coops?
Any plastic we place in the bin literally never really goes away. There is no "away"! Our team legitimately went into the wild, visiting a beautiful untouched natural oasis. Still, amongst this sheer beauty, we found so much plastic waste.
I think for most of us, the saying "out of sight out of mind" really rings true when it comes to rubbish. The wider population generally doesn't care what's happening because they can't see a problem. I believe it's hard to care about a problem that doesn't exist in your field of vision.
Now that I've joined Zero Co, I want to educate people, shining a spotlight on what's out of sight so that everyone is encouraged to take positive action without feeling weighed down by the problem! There's plenty of stuff we can all do to make a difference and look after our beautiful home Down Under.
I've encouraged all of my family and friends to make the switch to Zero Co as a super simple first step to reducing (or eliminating) single-use plastic in their homes. I don't feel like a pusher or a preacher. I feel ever so passionate and want as many people as possible to start to understand the sh*t storm that we're in, so we can fix it!
Raquel - Marketing Maven and Master of near facts
Since returning, you've told the team that your passion for the plastic pollution problem really grew on this trip. Tell us why? And what was your best near fact on the trip?
First up. Being a content producer at Zero Co is my dream job. The team made it super simple to get fun content because they genuinely are a bunch of legends! They also made the weekend an amazing experience. At times, it felt confronting to see the plastic problem first-hand. Having people like our staff, Ocean Crusaders, and K'gari Adventures doing something about it every day kept reinforcing my faith.
The trip itself made me feel more passionate to be a part of Zero Co and part of a solution. The three days also really secured the fact that I know a bit of everything and a lot about nothing. I excitedly convinced everybody we were observing a baby seagull in the wild. A rare sighting because they only hatch on islands...... It was a full-grown adult Crested Tern.
Josefina - Customer Happiness Hero (moonlighting as a Biochemist)
Hailing from Argentina, how did this experience being on K'gari feel for you?
Yes, I was born in Argentina, and I've been living in Australia for a while now. Being on K'gari deepened my love for this land through such an eye-opening and inspiring experience.
I have learnt so many incredible things and experienced such unique places. I believe we can solve this plastic problem, but it must be a joined effort - all together! I hope all Australians have the same opportunity as I have just had. To learn more about what we can do to un-trash the planet and get their hands (literally) onto solving this problem!
I've always thought that I'm aware of the mess we've put ourselves in, but after having been at K'gari (Fraser Island), I have realised I have so much more to learn!
I have this familiar feeling that we actually need to go back in time to solve the problem. With my Biochemist hat on for a second, plastic can be a great material if used properly. Plastic is meant to be reused because it is a durable and robust material. We need to make better decisions regarding our plastic usage (and other things!).
Being at K'gari was an incredible experience. We cleaned plastic that washed up to the beach from the ocean, and also learned about the Island's stories and its people.
Over three short days, we collected 21,159 pieces of plastic (and our cleanup happened only three weeks after a group of around 450 people cleaned it too). The plastic problem really is never-ending.
We also had the privilege to learn much about K'gari, why it was named Fraser Island and its significance for the Butchulla people. It is such a special and sacred place for them. They believe that the land owns us, and the reason we are here is to protect Mother Earth/ the Planet and all its inhabitants. From the trees to the tiniest of the animals. What a beautiful way to believe.
Jack - Special Projects and resident cool guy
After visiting K'gari and getting a real feel for this problem, just how big of a difference can Zero Co really make?
It was incredible to experience just how widespread the single-use plastic issue really is. K'gari, in my opinion, looks to be one of the cleanest stretches of beaches in Australia from afar; however, up close, it is far from it! It was a huge eye-opener for the sheer amount of plastic products we found hidden in the sand and amongst the dunes. Most of all, it screamed opportunity.
We found single-use plastic water bottles, cleaning product bottles, fishing containers, 4WD plastic products, general household products, and much more. All of which doesn't have to (and shouldn't) be there.
I'd like to think that we could see a big change in only a few short years. A change that will significantly reduce the amount of plastic we find on our beaches by encouraging other Aussie businesses to adopt our refill and reuse model. Our job at Zeroco is to inspire the next generation of leaders and companies by showing them that this problem isn't overwhelming and impossible. In fact, it can be solved with the right approach!
I feel ever more passionate about my path and current role at Zero Co, that I can make a difference every day I come to work.
Asher (The Un-trasher) - Customer Happiness Hero
The team knows you have massive habits outside the office to help our mamma earth. Tell us about your experience on K'gari. Can you share some of your habits to help us tread a little lighter on our planet?
I feel a bit bloody #blessed that:
- I get to call Zero Co work; and
- I got to experience the magical, pristine and sacred K'gari Island to do a beach clean up (with an epic crew of people!).
It sure is a perfect (visual) reminder that our lifestyle actions and consumer habits inevitably impact the planet.
Learning more about our First Nations People and how they prioritise and respect the land has given me a huge boost of inspiration. I know as good as I am doing, I can always do more (and better). Thinking of ways to be more mindful of protecting and maintaining the beauty and resources of Mama Earth.
I've personally been mindful of living a more minimalist lifestyle and treading the earth with a lighter footprint for at least a good decade now. But it's been baby steps for sure.
I try to buy many of my dry goods in bulk at places like The Source and shop for my fruit & veg at the local Farmers Markets (very easy to do with one on practically every day here in Byron!) And am slowly getting' my veggie garden and composting situation sorted! How amazing are worms?
The products I prefer to use are plant-based and kind to the earth, ideally sourced from ethical suppliers and manufacturers. I actually make most of my own skincare products and perfumes too. Full hippie here!
And my cleaning products are, well….Zero Co!
Even filling my home with plants as opposed to buying flowers each week. Which I've realised is kind of wasteful, and awful….as lovely as they are!
Did you know that our Aussie ocean and beach cleanups are funded by the people using our products? $5 from every starter box goes towards our clean up kitty!
To all of the dead set legends who've already bought a box of Zero Co or adopted a bottle, it's because of you that this cleanup was possible. Thank you, you legends! A massive shout out to our cleaning buddies Ocean Crusaders and our wonderful hosts K'gari Fraser Island too. We'll be back soon.
For now, we're getting to work processing that plastic ready to put into our next generation Forever Bottles, to be made right here in Australia! Learn more about our ocean cleanups and manufacturing in Australia over here.