These women are fighting plastic pollution one innovation at a time
We talk to the amazing women changing the way we use plastic
This year, Glastonbury music festival announced it would be a plastic free event. It kept around a million water bottles out of landfill and heck, even Sir David Attenborough got in on the act thanking party goers for ditching one of our biggest polluters.
It goes without saying pollution from single-use plastic is one of the greatest global threats to our environment, however the tides are turning. Awareness is building. And it’s happening closer to home with these Australian women leading the way.
Christie Kamphuis and Sam Stone, co-founders of bettercup
Friends, Christie Kamphuis and Sam Stone first met at a concert 12 years ago and over the course of their friendship grew tired of seeing overflowing garbage bins and waste from single-use cups at the gigs they attended. They created bettercup in 2016, a reusable cup service specifically for events with five different types of cups as well as lanyards and wristbands made from recycled materials.
“At events, the response from the crowd has been overwhelmingly positive. It creates a simple way for them to engage with a sustainability initiative and they are contributing positively to the environment,” says Christie.
Despite venues being hesitant to come on board initially, the duo have inked major deals with events like Hobart’s Dark Mofo, Open Air Cinemas as well as many other local festivals around Australia. “Events and venues were initially a little reluctant to just give us a go when we first reached out,” recalls Christie. “If you’re going to make changes to how things operate you want to be sure that that company knows what they’re doing and they’re walking the talk. It hasn’t just been about building awareness of bettercup and what we do, but also building an awareness and understanding of the broader waste problem.”
The women are also offer a recycling program for their broken or damaged cups, and also give them a second lease on life by donating to art projects and childcare centres.
Kate Bezar and Rebecca Percasky, The Better Packaging Co
Like Christie and Sam, Kate Bezar and her business partner Rebecca Percasky are also on a mission to reduce the need for single-use plastic. They created The Better Packaging Co after Rebecca – a former COO of a shipping and tracking software company – became concerned about the growth in e-commerce and the need to send more sustainable packages.
“I could immediately see the potential and the concept just resonated with me so strongly,” says Kate after coming on board. “That said, we never dreamed it would take off like it has. The amazing reception gives us real hope because we see so many business owners out there really, genuinely trying to do the right thing by the environment.”
Their packaging consists of messenger bags, bubble packs, poly bags and labels that can be composted in your home compost bin.
They also created a #betterfriends directory to share info on other like-minded brands who also use their packaging
“I’m a huge supporter of small business and I love entrepreneurial spirit, so on one level, creating a directory of the brands using our packaging, was our way of supporting that. We also just realised how wonderful a lot of the brands using our packaging are and wanted to shout about them from the rooftops. They share similar values and often are doing really, really great work.”