It's a waste not, want not life for Sabrina
FOR many of us, recycling and working to minimise our waste can be a bit of a task, but for Yeppoon woman Sabrina Burke it's part of her everyday life.
With a little determination and effort, Sabrina and her husband Patrick fill a month's worth of rubbish in two or three small paper bags, barely filling a quarter of their rubbish bin.
After years of seeing the impact plastic has had on her home country Zimbabwe, Mrs Burke made it her mission to eliminate plastic from her life.
"We have travelled in Africa and we have seen how waste, mainly plastic, can become almost a holocaust,” she said.
During a trip to Mozambique to visit family, Mrs Burke witnessed the pollution and harm plastic causes after driving past a river of floating bottles and plastic shopping bags.
"That was the first time I thought 'Hang on, the stuff we use for 10 to 12 minutes to get our shopping home can actually linger for a long time',” she said.
"That became a sort of wake-up call.”
Mrs Burke said it was difficult at first to eliminate plastic completely, but the process was worth it when you see the difference it makes.
"The hardest part was not so much what you have to change and give up,” she said.
"The hardest part for us was probably stepping out of our comfort zone and asking people for alternatives.”
For those that say it is too expensive to go plastic free, Mrs Burke says that at first, yes, it does seem to be more expensive, but the savings made from what you no longer buy make up for it.
"For a start, I would have to look at what I am not buying now, which is probably 70 per cent of what is in the supermarket because it is all very over packaged,” she said.
"We'll walk in with a shopping trolley intending to do a proper shop and we'll walk out with eight items because everything is so packaged.
"So, there is a saving there on what you are not buying.”
As for doing your bit for the environment, Mrs Burke says start off small and work your way up from there.
"Saying no to straws at restaurants because they can't be recycled, taking your own reusable coffee cups or water bottle, and take your own shopping bags,” she said.
"They are, I guess, the low hanging plastic fruit that anyone really can start working on and then you can take it to the next level.”