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Change-Makers: Three Women on a Plastic-Free Mission

By Nicola Saltman, Waverley Senior Sustainability Officer on July 4, 2019 in Other

Sophia being awarded for Young Conservationist of the Year with the Duchess of Sussex.

What do a local mum, writer and high school student-come-plastics campaigner have in common? They are ordinary yet extraordinary women making it their mission to rid the world of single-use plastics.
With Plastic Free July just around the corner, we talked to these female change-makers about their paths in inspiring others to make plastic-free living second nature.

Emily Albert
Bronte mum and co-founder, Plastic Free Bronte
Bronte mum-of-two, professional and community volunteer Emily Albert knows just how tricky it can be juggling priorities. The trick to creating good habits, she says, is to not worrying about being perfect.
“It doesn’t matter what you begin with – bags, coffee cups, straws, packaging, all of them – challenge yourself to make small improvements each week and encourage others to join you,” she said.
Feeding kids on the run can be especially difficult.
“If I’m prepared, I take loads of chopped up veggies and fruit, fresh goods from the bakery – bulk food stores are also a great source of non-packaged snacks like nuts, dried fruit and other nibbles.”

Sophia Skarparis (pictured)
High School Student
16 year-old student and elite soccer player Sophie Skarparis was awarded Australian Geographic’s Young Conservationist of the Year 2018 for her brave and tireless work advocating to rid NSW of single-use plastics, culminating in a petition to the state government with 10,000 signatures.
Seeing soccer fields littered with plastics lead to an ‘aha’ moment that motivated her to create change.
“No matter where I went, I seemed to find pieces of plastic. This was a real tangible problem, so I wanted to be part of the solution,” she said.
Meeting like-minded people and grassroots organisations like Surfrider Foundation helps to keep her focused, despite the challenges and a busy schedule of sport, church, Year 11 and friends.
“I believe my generation can be the ‘game changers’. We want the change where we can reuse bags, coffee cups, not use plastic straws or balloons and reduce plastic packaging of food.”

Anita Horan
Local writer and plastic-free produce campaigner
Anita’s #PlasticFreeProduce social media campaign has taken Australia by storm and she is often asked to speak at public events about our collective addiction to excessive plastic food packaging.
“I saved my family’s plastics for two weeks and have a photo of me sitting in it. I then did a tour of a recycling plant to find out what happens to it,” she explained.
“Once you see it [plastics], then you can start avoiding it.”
Her other tips including using BYO carry bags, food containers and re-usable drink bottles, and learning to say, “No Plastic Please,” at every opportunity.

Plastic Free July
Celebrate the good stuff happening locally with fun workshops, films, trivia, market and maker activities for everyone across the month. Bookings essential: