Location: Endeavour Fun ship playground, Cairns Esplanade QLD.

What was once 120,000 plastic straws is now a stylish new seat on the doorstep to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Thanks to the hard work of The Last Straw on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), millions of straws are now being saved from entering waterways and the environment.

The seat, located on the Cairns Esplanade, is not just for sitting – it conveys an important message about recycling and waste reduction. “A circular economy is our future if we are to even begin to control the plastic problem the world is facing,” The Last Straw on the GBR founder Nicole Nash said. “There is plenty of plastic out there, both on the land and unfortunately in our oceans. We need facilities like Replas to ensure our waste is recycled in Australia.”

500,000 plastic straws collected from venues who have joined the Last Straw on the Great Barrier Reef

In Cairns, more than 120 venues have ditched single-use plastic straws and over 350 venues across the entire GBR coastline have joined the campaign since launching in January 2017. From nightclubs to cafés, gyms, reef boats and even food vans, business owners are feeling the pressure to make changes around waste in their venues. For a full list of plastic straw free venues across the GBR check out our Official Venues page here. If your business is not on the list and it is single-use plastic straw free and matches what is required to join (Note: paper straws are the only single-use sort of straw accepted) register now by clicking HERE.

With some venues committing to go plastic straw free as soon as they heard of the movement, it resulted in surplus amounts of un-used straws in the region. We stepped in to collect more than 500,000 plastic straws from local venues, stockpiling the items until we could find a way for them to be re-purposed, which was harder than you may think. Plastic straws can not be recyced in General Council Recycling, which meant other alternatives like soft-plastic recycling facilites had to be looked at.

As there is no soft-plastic recycling facility in north Queensland, the straws travelled to Melbourne to Australian owned company Replas. “For recycling to work, it is essential that the people who produce plastic waste take responsibility for the life cycle of the material,” says a Replas spokesperson. “We choose to partner with companies that understand and embrace the Pull Through Effect, like Nicole Nash with The Last Straw on the GBR.” Facilities like Replas ensure that recycled plastic is bought back into viable, useful products that will better the environment. For further information or to purchase recycled plastic products visit their website.

Proud Cairns Regional Council Mayor, Bob Manning and Nicole Nash Founder of The Last Straw on the Great Barrier Reef enjoying Cairns Esplanade latest art piece – a seat made of straws.

In early 2016, Cairns based company ReGen Plastics launched a project to establish a facility to recycle plastics in Cairns, but require further funding in order to proceed. “ReGen Plastics offers congratulations to the Last Straw on the Great Barrier Reef on demonstrating the power of recycling. This is exactly why we need the ability locally to process plastic resource that would otherwise end up in landfill,” co-founder of ReGen Plastics Lesley Van Staveren said.

Cairns Regional Council Mayor Bob Manning, who joined us and Replas to officially unveil the seat on Friday 22 March 2019, said the project represented a significant step forward in protecting the reef. “It’s easy to take for granted the fact that we have the Great Barrier Reef on our doorstep,” Cr Manning said. “But the truth is that we all have a responsibility as the reef’s custodians to protect it from our actions. “We know that plastic straws are a killer of marine life – it makes sense to remove them from circulation. “Thanks to projects like The Last Straw on the GBR, we have seen a real and tangible action to protect our marine life. This recycled plastic seat will forever serve as a reminder of this important step we’ve taken as a community.”

In early 2016, Cairns based company ReGen Plastics launched a project to establish a facility to recycle plastics in Cairns, but require further funding in order to proceed. “ReGen Plastics offers congratulations to the Last Straw on the Great Barrier Reef on demonstrating the power of recycling. This is exactly why we need the ability locally to process plastic resource that would otherwise end up in landfill,” co-founder of ReGen Plastics Lesley Van Staveren said.

Miss the news? Catch up on the news coverage and hear what Cairns Mayor has to say:

WIN News Cairns

7 News Cairns added coverage

7 News Cairns news story

ABC Far North Queensland

2 thoughts on “How many straws does it take to make a seat?

  1. This is absolutely fantastic news.
    I have been a volunteer at the cairns rehabilitation centre on Fitzroy Island for 16 months now.
    I’m 100% in favour of your great 👍🏻 invention.
    Why is it that someone hasn’t or can’t have a soft recycled plastic company in cairns or far Nth Qld ?
    What’s stopping this from happening?
    Why hasn’t the cairns council made allowance for this to happen?
    After all we do live on the Great Barrier Reef …
    I guess once all plastic straws are removed from circulation, the company would then fade out , is that right ?

    Like

    1. Hi Belinda

      Thanks for your comment and support. In the bottom of the article there is information about the requirements still waiting for the proposed Cairns Soft Plastic Recycling facility- Re Gen Plastics that is in motion. Cost is the major factor for these facilities – the demand is certainly there and an endless supply of plastic already in circulation.

      Like

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