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Fighting for a Plastic Free Bronte

By Nicola Smith on December 29, 2020 in News

Making a real difference. Photo: Gergo Rugli

A group of passionate and committed Bronte locals have launched a new photography campaign to help in the fight against plastic polluting our oceans. The campaign includes a series of posters that feature plastic waste found along the Bronte to Bondi coastal walk.
The group behind the posters, Plastic Free Bronte, hopes that they will help to remind people to be more mindful, not just of their littering, but of their plastic consumption too.
The photos were taken by Plastic Free Bronte member Gergo Rugli, an amateur photographer, and none of the photos in the campaign were staged. The photos now stand as a record of plastic waste as it was found along the coastal walk.
Many surf lifesaving clubs along the coastal walk, as well as cafes in Bronte, have jumped on board the campaign and are displaying the posters.
Plastic Free Bronte founder Colette Reynolds told The Beast that this has come at a significant time for plastic use.
“Due to COVID, there’s been a big increase in single-use plastics, and people have reverted,” she told The Beast, “so we need to tweak their thinking again.”
What began as a solo project for Ms Reynolds to reduce her plastic use became a community initiative that hoped to see all the cafes at Bronte Beach stop using straws in their drinks.
“Bronte is an enclave – there are eight to nine cafes – and I thought, ‘If I can make a change there, that’s achievable’,” Ms Reynolds told The Beast.
Having grown even further, Plastic Free Bronte now runs regular community events to support plastic-free living. These include movie nights to raise awareness and money for the organisation’s work, conducting independent research into plastic-free alternatives for local businesses and running information stalls at Bronte Beach to educate the community on plastic-free lifestyles.
Waverley Mayor Paula Masselos said enthusiastic volunteer groups like Plastic Free Bronte were an important part of the Waverley community.
“I am truly appreciative of the indefatigable dedication of volunteer groups such as Plastic Free Bronte and the work they are doing in the local area, including along the Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk. Their activities in education, clean-ups and business initiatives are truly inspirational, and I thank them for their selfless dedication and commitment,” Mayor Masselos told The Beast.
Ms Reynolds feels that, while behavioural change is difficult to bring about, the group has developed a strong bond with the community and has brought about change for the better.
“It’s about keeping the conversation open and not blaming the businesses. We want to educate people, not shame them,” she said.
“It took years and years and years, but now I have a great relationship with the owners and they’re all on board.”
Waverley Council is on board with the vision of a more sustainable world too.
“Council will continue to work closely with our community and community groups to protect our area and to try and instil behavioural change so future generations can enjoy this amazing part of the world, as we do,” Mayor Masselos told The Beast.
Ms Reynolds said that seeing the community rally behind the cause has been the best thing about the initiative.
“What excites me about this journey is that a small group of passionate people can make a difference and really make waves,” she told The Beast.