Clean Ups at K'gari 

Life’s a colourful whirlwind here at Zero Co HQ. There’s rarely a dull moment, between cleaning returned pouches, developing more plastic-busting products, and brainstorming toilet cleaner jokes (it’s fun stuff, honestly). But no matter how crazy it gets, we’re always reminded of the sole reason our do-good business exists and the problem we’re tackling head on. Yes, hello single-use plastic, we’re looking at you.

Clean Ups at K'gari 

We’re here to create a people powered solution to the global single-use plastic problem. To link arm-in-arm with anyone and everyone who wants to join us on this audacious mission to untrash the planet. To unite people from all walks, who want to do their bit, no matter how small their role. 

That’s why we asked our customers to become shareholders, because we know we can’t tackle this problem alone. And now we have +3000 legendary Aussies invested in our journey, we can really get this ball rolling. 

Part of our business model funds large-scale ocean and beach clean-ups, where we collect rubbish and use the plastics to manufacture our refillable Forever Bottles. Seeing the clean-up process first hand truly opens your eyes to the reality of the problem we humans have created. It’s something we want everyone in our team to understand, so they can go to work every day knowing the tangible difference we’re making as a company, pulling this rubbish off our beaches and stopping the production of more single-use plastics, with our closed-loop refill model.

Our Job Is Rubbish.

Last year in June (2021), our whole team went to K’gari (Fraser Island) for a three day beach clean-up adventure where we met Hana and Mark, two incredible guides from K’gari Adventures, who took us across the island to see its beautiful landscape and pick up a heck of a lot of plastic waste along the way. 

It was such a significant moment for us as a team, to build a common purpose and see the collective impact we can make by getting our hands sandy, even just for a few days. It’s a time we often look back on, which inspires us to deliver a similar impact from our desks.

So we thought, what better way to get our shareholders involved in this business than asking them to join us at K’gari for the next mission. Boom! Zero Co Untrashed Eco Tours was created – the goodest holiday in Australia, with three days of sightseeing, beach cleaning and mingling with like-minded legends wanting to give a little back to the planet.

Why K’gari?

K’gari, the land belonging to the Butchulla People, translates to ‘Paradise’ and is iconic for its crystal clear waters, long stretches of white sand and roaming wildlife. Unfortunately, what many don’t know is that the World Heritage Listing is also a natural catchment area for rubbish building up on its coastline. The 125km long sandbank catches plastic waste that travels from Brisbane, Sydney and the entire East Coast’s waterways, in addition to tides pulling foreign waste from the South Pacific.

K’gari is at risk of ongoing environmental damage as the changing climate continues to wash up alarming amounts of plastic waste on its shores. This was evident when our team visited last year and only more so when we returned in February after heavy storms called for an emergency clean up.

Caring For Country

Hana and Mark from K’gari Adventures have a passion for sharing their knowledge of the land and caring for country, which made us want to extend this experience to our community. So, we’ve teamed up with K’gari’s two best tour guides to curate an epic eco warrior experience for Aussies seeking a more mindful holiday. 

Recently, we took 21 of our shareholders on this experience, alongside Mike and some of the Zero Co crew, and it was pretty special.

Day one started in torrential storms. So with rain jackets and gloves on, we tackled the winds and tides to pick up rubbish in what felt like utter mayhem. It was a fast way to break the ice and the post-clean adrenaline rush (yes, it’s a thing) had people laughing and joking together before we could say beer-o’clock. 


Zero Co staff in the rain


We huddled together over dinner to learn the history of the island from Hana and Mark and discuss how we were all feeling after a big day. The emotions in the room were powerful and some tears were shared. Seeing such natural beauty polluted with plastic can be pretty shocking, especially if you’re living in relatively clean suburbia.

So after a few hugs and a mood lifting speech from Mike, our team felt empowered to tackle the next two days with plenty of optimism and hope for a cleaner future.

Thankfully, the next morning delivered sunny skies and we geared up for a jam-packed day of picking up plastic and seeing the best K’gari has to offer. This meant a trip to the Maheno Shipwreck in the morning, and a dip in the clear waters of Eli Creek at lunch. Our small group of strangers quickly became a friendly gang and slick operation. You’d have guessed we’d all known each other for years. 

It was an early rise on the final day to sort the HUGE pile of rubbish we’d collected. This means sorting plastic types, like HDPE, which Zero Co uses to manufacture our OBL material (Ocean, Beach and Landfill bound plastic) and makes up the foundation of our Forever Bottles. 

Plastic waste from the ocean being sorted by hand

With smiles all round, the job was polished off in just a couple of hours and we were headed through the sand rainforest towards the idyllic Lake McKenzie. Swimming and paddle boarding in water so blue you’d travel the globe for the experience, it really felt like mother nature was giving us a subtle pat on the back. 

A final lunch was shared, along with a stroll through the rainforest, before we were back at base camp crunching the numbers on how much trash we’d collected and saying our goodbyes.

What Our Shareholders Said

“Overall it was a great trip and one that I'm grateful to have experienced. It was really nice to meet so many like-minded people and see first hand the work that Zero Co is doing. I also feel more informed now to be able to share information with friends, family, colleagues, anyone who will listen. I was already flying the flag, but now I'm armed with more ammunition to get people on board.”

“An amazing experience and I’ll be back with more people to help the next one!”

“The whole trip was rad! Really enjoyed meeting so many like-minded people, meeting Zero Co peeps, hearing more about the Zero Co journey, and what’s coming up next. Loved hearing all about the island and its history from Mark, Hana and Doug – they are just the best people! Love your work guys, great flippin’ trip!”

“I can’t believe this hasn't gone viral! I wish I had the know-how to make a video and make it go viral. I mean, this should be on mainstream news. I had no idea there was so much rubbish on K'gari!”

The Stats

Over just two days of cleaning, our team of 27 picked up 1222.5 kilograms of rubbish. 421kgs of that being HDPE which Zero Co will be able to repurpose into Forever Bottles and continue our mission towards untrashing the planet.

What’s Next?

Another one! We can’t wait to continue building this community of people who want to join us on this crazy journey. Whether you’re a customer, a shareholder, or still finishing off the last of your Morning Fresh (we’ll forgive you), everyone’s welcome.

So what do you reckon, wanna join us on the next one? Be sure to reach out here if you’d like more info.  

They say change is as good as a holiday. We reckon a good holiday is about making change.

– Emma Webber, Partnerships & PR Extraordinaire. 


Swimming on K'gari


We acknowledge the Butchulla people who are the traditional custodians of K’gari. Their first rule of law has always been what’s good for the land must come first.

Published on Tuesday 7 June, 2022