Rocky store helping the region go Plastic-Free this July
SCROLLING through Facebook these days, it's hard to avoid the confronting images of sea critters choking to death on plastic or our once pristine beaches littered with trash.
An agonised turtle writhing as a straw is yanked from its nose, a bloated whale carcass expelling a cascade of bottles and bags, a fish's flesh peppered with micro beads, and emaciated polar bears clutching onto melting ice. These images are everywhere.
People across the world are beginning to see the environmental damage a convenient and cheap lifestyle has caused and are giving plastic the flick.
A global movement, Plastic-Free July, is aiming to inspire people across the world.
Rockhampton's Splendiwhit is setting the pace for Central Queensland, not only providing the region with more conscious options but also educating people on how to live a more sustainable life.
Co-Owner Frith Petersen (who owns the store with co-owner Kaitlin Holland) said during this Plastic-Free July, her store is offering new products, workshops and guidance to those daunted by the prospect of living plastic-free.
" Everyone has the ability to make some changes, small or large," Mrs Petersen said.
"There's a lot of different things you can do to make a change for the better and for the environment.
"Being Plastic-Free July, now is a really good time to give yourself that challenge.
"It can be daunting or overwhelming to begin with because it's different, but when you start to implement the small things, it becomes second nature."
Despite the common attitude that living eco-friendly can be an expensive feat, Mrs Petersen is hoping to enlighten people on just how affordable and easy it can be.
For every 15c bag that is bought and used once, the price soon stacks up.
"We have bags that are $10 for three and you can keep them for years," she said.
"It's a small cost up front but overall it's very minimal.
"There are some people who grew up in the era of convenience and wanting things right now and as easy as possible, but the younger ones are going 'hang on a minute, this is where we've got to live and our children have to live so let's make a difference'.
"I stopped using plastic bags years before the ban and people thought I was strange. It's fantastic that people have realised that it's not that hard and if they can get a grasp on that, they can do the same with other things."
Splendiwhit has also taken the step to ensure that their stock suppliers use no plastic or minimal plastic in their product packaging.
Despite the uprising of people shunning convenience for sustainability, there are still many who deny the affects of their lifestyle on the environment, says Mrs Petersen.
"Even if you want to deny climate change, there's images of dead whales full of plastic," she said.
"People chuck their rubbish in the bin, put the bin outside and a person takes it away and they think it's not their problem. But it is. Ultimately it's everyone's problem.
"One thing that got me was those face scrubs with tiny bits of plastic in them. An article I read said the ocean pushes them to a particular place and I had a look and it was full of these tiny pieces of plastic.
"We have a face scrub (at Splendiwhit) that breaks down. It's about the small changes."
Although the region has a "way to go", Mrs Petersen said anyone willing to learn can come into her store and have a chat about alternatives and products.
"We only just got the Containers for Change thing and it's been great seeing people doing it," she said.
"It's a good step in the right direction. Everyday there's something new to learn about and the beauty of social media is you can learn and google something if you have a question.
"Or come in and see us and have a chat. We're very passionate about it and we're not only about selling products but about teaching people."
Go green with Splendiwhit
Products include bees wax wraps which are an alternative to cling wrap, bamboo, metal and silicone straws, biodegradable 3D printed gifts, menstrual cups, natural cleaning products, shampoo and conditioner bars and sustainably sourced coconut bowls.
Splendiwhit offers workshops where you can learn to make your eco-friendly products.
For more information visit www.plasticfreejuly.org, Splendiwhit's Facebook page or instore at 173 Campbell St, Rockhampton.