• A message from Parrys

Our Environmental Ambassador Parrys Raines writes to us about her latest project.

"After a long twelve months of research, learning and writing a proposal to the school principal I finally had the single use plastic water bottle banned from my school!

Plastic is all around us. Practically everything we own and use is made from plastic. One plastic product that has a huge impact on the environment and causes unnecessary ecological damage is the single use plastic water bottle. The whole process of producing plastic bottles has an impact on the environment. There is the production, the shipping, the storage, the refrigeration and then the bottles are thrown out ending up as land fill or in some cases recycled. Using something once and then throwing it away is not logical, there is no 'away'.

The bottles that end up in land fill just create piles of toxic waste which then seeps into the soil and into our rivers and oceans.

The fact is we can easily live without the single use plastic water bottle. It also makes sense not to pay for something you can get for free and not harm our health and the planet in the long run.

Here are some facts about plastics:
In some parts of the ocean there is more plastic than plankton.

The plastic's in our oceans end up in our food chain because plastics never fully degrade they just get smaller and smaller, fish then mistake these small pieces of plastics as food and eat it and we eat the fish. These small pieces of plastic may still contain toxins.

Every year at least one million seabirds and one hundred thousand marine mammals and sea turtles die when they get tangled in plastic pollution or they ingest it.

In Australia we consume approximately 600 million litres of bottled water each year. To make and sell this much we use 1 billion litres of water.

The production and distribution of these water bottles creates sixty thousand tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions which equals the same amount produced by thirteen thousand cars a year.

It takes 120 million litres of oil to manufacture and distribute the bottles every year. This means bottled water has a higher carbon footprint that is more than 300 times greater per litre than tap water.

Bottled water costs more per litre than petrol.

Bottled water does not taste better or is better for you but manufactures try to convince consumers otherwise.

Plastic pollution is linked to a misunderstanding of convenience and consumption.

The first plastic created is still in existence today.

Waste does not exist in nature. Plastic bottles are a resource that can be up cycled into new products, like Billabong's plastic bottle boardies! The problem is that only a small percentage of bottles are recycled, most are just thrown away.

Do you know that -away' does not exist? When we throw things away all our waste goes into landfill and the landfill is fast filling up or our rubbish ends up in the environment causing damage to wildlife and even us.

These facts highlight that we as consumers consume too much and we produce more waste than the planet can manage. We currently need 1.4 planets to manage all our waste and as you all know we only have one and so we need to come up with solutions to minimize and reduce our waste and to use waste as a resource.

We have to move away from the 'out of sight out of mind' philosophy and that 'someone else will look after it'. That train of thought is old school. Each and every one of us must take responsibility for our own ecological footprints. We can all do one thing and that thing could be not using the single use plastic water bottle. If we all do this together we can make a huge difference.

With all this information in hand I decided to take action! Last year I wrote a proposal to my school principal to have the single use plastic water bottle banned. In my proposal I asked the school to not only ban the plastic bottle but to also have the bubblers revamped, install water bottle filling stations and most importantly provide each student and teacher with a stainless steel drinking bottle. I am pleased to report that all parts of my proposal were accepted. When we got back to school in February we held an official ceremony which was awesome. There were speeches and dancing and we even had the water bottle filling stations blessed.

Buying the stainless steel bottles for everyone was so important as this encourages long term behavioural change. Changing the way we do things, everyday is the only way we are really going to help the planet. We can start with one thing and then gradually learn to make more positive long term changes.

Another big motivation for me to take action is my love for the ocean. I have to say that sharing a wave with a dolphin while surfing has to be one of the special things in life. I wonder when the dolphins look across at me are they trying to remind me that the ocean is to be shared and it is our responsibility to protect our oceans and all the marine life that live in it. I smile and make a promise that I will do what I can to bring awareness to other young people.

So now that you have read this blog you have the knowledge to do something buy yourself a reusable water bottle (a Billabong one) and never buy another single use plastic water bottle and help protect our oceans and the beautiful marine life!"

Thanks Parrys!