Category Archives: Clean Ups

and what are you doing this weekend?

What a great feature on the Sydney Weekender! –
And Mike Whitney could have not made it any clearer:

weekender

ANYtime and ANYwhere! –

its entirely up you! just make sure you send us your picture

 

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Message in a PET bottle

Beached Bottle
When I was a kid it was exciting to see a bottle on a beach, we used to race to see who   could get to in first in the hope it contained a message from a marooned sailor! Now with the advent of throwaway culture and the PET bottle, todays kids will never know that thrill. Where children once decorated their sandcastle with sea-shells they now use discarded bottle caps.

Plastic pollution, it’sCooks River become an ever growing problem we’ve created in the last 50 years, and it’s showing itself to be a threat to ocean health rivaling over fishing and global warming.

At Two Hands Project we believe plastic pollution is caused by poor design, either of the plastic products or packaging themselves, or of the systems used to recover them at end of  their useful life.
For example look at the humble soft-drink, a beverage billions of people enjoy daily. Disposable soft-drink (soda) bottles make up a large contribution to plastic pollution, over 30%.. so how is this pollution a design problem rather than a behavioral one? Consider the following.
What are the various delivery systems for soft drink and what contribution to plastic pollution do they have?
-single trip PET bottles, these are THE major problem, designed to be discarded after the use it’s no wonder they end up as pollution. Around 30% or less recovery with voluntary recycling.
-single trip PET bottles with a refund system, results in 80% recovery (recovery increases with higher refund)
Refillables
-refillable bottles with a refund system, this is the best pre-bottled soda system, over 90% recovery (recovery increases with higher refund) zero plastic pollution if glass bottles are used.
-soda fountains, potentially zero plastic pollution if consumed in washable glassware, can be a big contributor if plastic or plastic lined take-out cups and straws are used.
Big Bottle
-home carbonation systems, such as SodaStream , can save the production of thousands of single trip bottles a year.
These are a great choice if you love soft drink, want to reduce plastic pollution, and like to have greater control over what goes in to your drinks.
As you can see manufacturers have a CHOICE in how they deliver a product, these choices affect the amount of plastic pollution entering our environment, so companies must be held responsible for polluting designs.
This brings me to what is currently unfolding in Australia.
Yarra River Melbourne
In an effort to reduce plastic pollution every day Australians are calling for a refund system on empty beverage containers.
Despite choosing to market to Australia using polluting single trip design, Coca Cola, Schweppes, Coopers and Lion Nathan are vigorously opposing a refund system that would massively reduce their contribution to plastic pollution..
Coca Cola have even taken the extreme steps of suing Australia’s Northern Territory for their recent adoption of the 10c refund system. This is completely out of order.

Check out the facebook pages of Coca Cola and Mount Franklin , read and like the comments from fellow Australians regarding this legal action and leave a comment of your own.

You can even make your own “boycott coke” placard and photograph you and your friends with it and post the pics.

Boycott Coke Placard
Also check out the Cash for Containers action and send a letter to your MP using the online form
_SST1733_0382w
SwanBottlePollutionSilkePhotoMost importantly be aware of the role of design in plastic pollution, choose pollution free ways of enjoying your favorite things, and demand the manufacturers employing polluting design pick up their game and stop trashing our planet.
Paul Sharp, Founder Two Hands Project
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Guest Blog #1 Koh Tao by Ayesha Cantrell, Master Divers

Clean ups really make me mad, not doing them but the fact that they have to be done.  It amazes me that the human race has come so far but we still don’t seem to be able to dispose of our litter and waste properly.

I’m one of the owners of Master Divers  which is a dive centre located on the island of Koh Tao in Thailand.  It’s a small island that sees a lot of visitors and it angers me that some just don’t take care.  After all people visit because it’s beautiful: so why leave your rubbish on the beach where you have been lounging all day?  Who do you think is going to pick it up? Clearly this is not everyone but it only takes a small percentage.  Don’t they realize their rubbish is likely to end up in the ocean destroying the marine life that you have come here to snorkel and dive with ?

A particular example of this would be a small cove on Koh Tao called Laem Thien. This little bay once played host to a resort which has since been abandoned.  The road is overgrown but it makes a great hike and it’s often visited by members of our team.  The resort is like a ghost town and spooky but great fun.  Visitors hike there too and we have noticed on our visits that the resort has accumulated a lot of plastic bottles  and other general rubbish which apparently visitors to the bay have left.  I’m not sure who they thought would take them away or why, as the bottles were empty, it was such a hassle to carry them back.  We have made this cove our pet project now and regularly go to clean it up.    On our last trip we collected, amongst many other things, 7 large rubbish bags full of just plastic bottles alone. We have now sited large bins and notices so atleast the rubbish is safe from reaching the ocean.

This nicely brings me to the next topic that makes my blood boil, single use plastic! The relationship to its consumption and any clean up you will have participated in is direct.  If not, spend 30 min with 2 hands clearing up and you’ll almost certainly see what I mean. Thailand has yet to lay down any rules regarding plastic bags so the amount consumed is immense add to that the fact that tap water isn’t safe to drink and you have a plastic mountain. As we all know plastic bags are extremely dangerous to marine life and plastic in general is infected our day to lives at an alarming rate.  So while I certainly do agree we need to keep our environment tidy and waste free, if we limited our waste to start with we wouldn’t be feeding the cycle.   And you know what – this isn’t difficult to do !

Personally the team have looked at their lives and minimized as much single use plastic as they can. In our house we use large returnable and refillable drinking water containers, refill our toiletries bottles, use a mineral stick deodorant and carry re-usable cloth shopping bags for groceries etc… We’ve implemented similar measures in our dive centre too.  Free water refills are available and divers are encouraged to use our re-usable take-away pots when going out for take-away.  We provide re-usable beakers for those who pop out to get a refreshing fruit shake from the nearby vendors too. We sell branded cloth bags with a no plastic message and we use them in the day-to-day dive centre tasks too.  We think carefully about each purchase and don’t buy, for example, single service coffee sachets.  We lobby suppliers where possible; our t-shirt supply doesn’t individually wrap in plastic anymore which was a huge win!

Education on the issue is key.  We explain the issue to every guest; we have also created a t-shirt to help spread the message too.  We have filmed a short video and are currently very involved with an island wide project to limit the use of plastic straws; as more bars and restaurants get involved more want to be involved.

Check out the video here,  “>at2bui-tGLU

As I said, it didn’t take much thought or cost a lot either but the impact it’s had on the waste produced is incalculable.

So please don’t just take 30 mins with 2 hands to clean your environment, take 30 mins and think about how to limit your contribution to this cycle too and help to stop feeding the plastic mountain!

Ayesha Cantrell

Master Divers, Koh Tao

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Expedition: Whitsundays Clean Up February 2012

Two Hands Project founder Paul and co-founder Silke

Two Hands Project founder Paul and co-founder Silke

The Two Hands Project team, Paul Sharp (founder) and Silke Stuckenbrock (co-founder), were lucky enough to have the opportunity to sail around the Whitsundays as part of a week long Two Hands Project.

Paul was interviewed by Channel Whitsundays while there:

We found alot of bottle caps, bottles and toothbrushes during our clean ups.

Some of the plastic pollution in the Whitsundays

It’s a a remarkable thing to note that – of all the beaches that the Two Hands Project team have seen in Australia (and we have seen quite a few) – several of the beaches in the Whitsundays were the worst affected by plastic pollution.

Two Hands Project Team with Ben Ware from Whitsundays Plastic Pollution

Two Hands Project Team with Ben Ware from Whitsundays Plastic Pollution

We also got the chance to go diving and snorkelling too, so it wasn’t all clean ups and no play ;)

Two Hands Project Founder Paul with Ben Ware from Whitsundays Plastic Pollution...and some of the plastic collected in the tinny behind the boat

We were taken around the Whitsundays by local Ben Ware: awesome guide, passionate on solving the problem of plastic pollution in the Whitsundays and genuine all round decent human being.  You can see more of what Ben does on his Facebook Page: Whitsundays Plastic Pollution.

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Celebrating our volunteers: Let’s hear it for the mermaids

Check out Sarah Mermaid’s story:

Sarah Mermaid is a Two Hands Project participant based in Sydney, Australia.

She also holds sustainable workshops for kids and adults where they reuse plastic found on the beach – turning them into works of art!

These straws have been used for approximately 10 minutes – they have another 300-400 years to live! Let’s make some cool mermaid art!

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Tips: Collection Triage

If you either:

  • are in a hurry and don’t have the full 30 minutes to collect, or
  • there is a heap of rubbish, beyond what you could collect in 30 mins, or
  •  you don’t have a bag or container to collate your rubbish, so you can only collect what you can hold in two hands

You can still productively collect waste and reduce risk to wildlife. You just need to practice some collection triage.

Prioritise collecting items that will do the most damage to wildlife or which have the potential to do the most harm.

Two Hands Project at Melbourne's Docklands

Two Hands Project at Melbourne's Docklands

Quickie two hands project rationale:

In a quickie or limited Two Hands clean up scenario, we’d suggest you focus on collecting waste that will do the most damage as the priority with anything else you gather being in the nice to have basket.

Things to prioritise:

We’d suggest the following types of items pose the most threat.

  • plastic bags and plastic packaging (e.g. carry bags, bait bags, chip packets, chocolate wrappers)
  • small hard plastic (e.g. bottle tops)
  • fishing line
  • fishing gear (e.g. hooks, lures, reels)
  • anything that poses an entanglement risk (e.g. hair ties, rope, nets, rubber bands, items with strings or loops, packing tape)
  • balloons

[NB – this isn’t an extensive list and it this will depend on your locale and native wildlife, but it does give you a good starting point if you do need to do collection triage.]

Some nice to haves

Things that are nice to have, but not as pressing to collect:

  • straws
  • cardboard objects (cigarette boxes, food packets)
  • drink bottles
  • cans
  • food/takeaway containers

 

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Welcome to Two Hands Project

Two Hands Project is all about what you can do with your two hands to clean up our world.

Take two hands and 30 minutes to clean up (y)our world anytime, anywhere.

Two Hands Project co-founder Silke at Forster

Two Hands Project co-founder Silke at Forster

Make sure you like our Facebook Page: facebook.com/twohandsproject or follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/2handsproject to connect with us and see people from around the world sharing their Two Hands photos and stories!


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