This week, Thiess celebrated World Environment Day by launching a photo competition to raise awareness and take action to Beat Plastic Pollution.

To enter the competition, employees are snapping how and why they’re taking steps to reduce plastic pollution.

Jed's story

Brisbane-based ICT Security Analyst, Jed Petralia, submitted his photo showing one handful of plastic, broken down into tiny parts, polluting one of his favourite beaches at Brokenhead, on Australia’s iconic and seemingly pristine, Byron Bay.

Jed was so shocked and moved by the plastic pollution that he found on Byron’s beaches that he started a regular Sunday morning clean-up.

“When you first look at the beach, you don’t really see the plastic,” Jed explained.

“But when you look under the foliage on the dunes or just under the surface of the sand, you find so much plastic waste.

“Every second Sunday we would clean-up a 300m area and we were picking up 8-10 kilograms of rubbish – all plastic - in this pristine location.”

The clean-up attracted volunteers who would lay the rubbish out on a blue tarp for sorting. They then submitted the results to an online database that broke down the extent of plastic pollution.

“We started to see trends – bottle tops, toothbrushes, Chupa Chup sticks, straws – and broke bits of plastic. All this had been in the ocean for a very long time.

“It was so disheartening because you know so many marine animals are consuming this.

“But it’s a life-changing experience. It makes you think of all the daily choices you make and the impact they have on the environment.”

Thoughtful choices

Jed and his partner began to think carefully about the choices they were making and actively avoid single-use plastics to reduce their footprint.

The pair also started a Plastic Free neighbourhood group in West End, and continued local clean-ups and sharing of tips and tricks to reduce plastic.

“Plastic pollution is a huge problem and no matter how much rubbish you clean up – it’s still there.

“We need to think about the source, where it's coming from and why.

“It can seem overwhelming but there are little things we can do each day.

“If you know you’re going to get a coffee, take a keep cup. If you’re going to the butcher, take a container from home to carry your meat and avoid the plastic bags.

“There’re lots of ways to make a difference. Change is not hard. You just have to plan.”

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