Top ideas for participating in Keep Australia Beautiful Week

14 August 2020

Spring is just around the corner, and many Aussies are waking up to the reality of our country’s natural beauty. Scattered amongst the splendour of our pristine waters and towering mountains, however, it’s sadly too easy to trip over rubbish or spot an unsightly patch of degraded habitat.

Are you ready to do something about it?

You’re in luck­—Keep Australia Beautiful Week is on this week, running from 17-23 August. Across the country, people of all ages and backgrounds will be doing their part to preserve the natural majesty of our public places, though their efforts will look a little different this year.

Learn how it all started and find out how you can get involved in the movement.

Keep Australia Beautiful Week encourages participants to take actions that preserve Australia’s rich natural environments, like those of the Blue Mountains.

Who started Keep Australia Beautiful Week?

To understand this yearly event, you have to know a little bit about the Keep Australia Beautiful campaign, and that story centres clearly on one figure: Dame Phyllis Frost.

According to her profile in The Australian Women’s Register, Frost was an influential advocate on behalf of incarcerated women and environmental concerns. As part of her life’s work to improve conditions around the country, Dame Frost launched the Keep Australia Beautiful initiative. Though she passed away in 2004, that same year, the annual event known as Keep Australia Beautiful Week began.

Since then, every August, this Aussie tradition has honoured Frost’s legacy by encouraging residents throughout the country to step up and take responsibility for the condition of our shared environment.

How can I participate in Keep Australia Beautiful Week?

As with many events this year, participants in 2020’s Keep Australia Beautiful Week will have to be mindful of circumstances surrounding COVID-19. Check regularly for government updates concerning the possibility of new restrictions, especially if you live in Victoria.

Dubbed ‘Litter: Prevent the Spread’, Keep Australia Beautiful encourages 2020 participants to ‘keep yourself and the environment safe from harm’. Among other issues, the campaign aims to limit excess waste due to the rising prevalence of single-use plastic items in takeaway orders and for personal protective equipment.

The message has two parts: First, keep yourself and your loved ones safe from exposure to, and transmission of, the novel coronavirus. Second, be mindful of your impact on the planet as you adopt new and important habits.

As such, there are three important ways you can support this year’s theme:

1) Protect yourself, and protect the planet

Face coverings can be essential safety equipment for when people have to enter public places. As you wear a mask over your mouth and nose, you protect yourself and the people around you by reducing the chances of transmitting the virus from one person to another through the air. Likewise, public-facing workers in some industries may benefit from using gloves for specific tasks in order to reduce the possibility of spreading germs from one surface to another.

However, overusing disposable items when you could purchase or make your own reusable versions can strain our natural resources while leading to a higher amount of waste and, potentially, litter.

If you don’t want to be picking up discarded face masks and gloves during a future Clean Up Australia Day, pick up some washable face coverings and think carefully about whether you really need a new box of single-use gloves or if a simple squirt of alcohol-based hand sanitiser will do.

2) Keep your hands clean, the earth-friendly way

Speaking of sanitiser, you’re probably using a lot of it these days, as well as hand soap. The second thing you can do to observe Keep Australia Beautiful Week in 2020 is to ensure that your hygienic habits are aligned with eco-friendly best practices. How do you do this?

Well, for starters, you should make sure to recycle eligible plastic bottles. You can also reduce the amount of plastic you acquire by purchasing liquid soap and sanitiser in bulk. Reuse small travel bottles by refilling them from your main supply as needed.

Hand washing
Reduce the amount of waste you generate by purchasing liquid hand soap in bulk.

3) Mind your takeaway

If you’re like many people across Australia, ordering takeaway has become a source of solace the past few months. However, it should come as no surprise by now that picking up food from a restaurant often comes with an unwanted amount of single-use plastic items.

To help address this problem, ring your favourite establishment when you place an order to ensure they’ll forgo plastic bags as well as disposable forks and knives. You might consider skipping ordering beverages, too. This will reduce the number of plastic cups, lids and straws you have to toss.

Stay up to date, and take a closer look at your super

While we’ve outlined steps you can take to honour this year’s theme, there’s plenty more you can do to participate in Keep Australia Beautiful Week. For starters, follow Keep Australia Beautiful’s Facebook and Instagram accounts for tips and updates. You can also register your interest online.

Additionally, do you know if your super is part of the movement for a greener Australia? Align your super with your values - learn more about LGS’ stance on responsible investing today.

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