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Plasticwise Taroona - Latest News

Sarah says "We're back!!"

We're back! Our first bag-making workshop for this year will be held on Monday 27 May, from 6:30-8:30pm at the Picnic Basket Cafe in Taroona. Everyone is welcome - we have lots of pre cut bags ready to sew and plenty of cotton fabric to cut up for our beeswax wrap workshops - all help is greatly appreciated! The Picnic Basket has new owners now, and they have kindly agreed to open up the cafe for us on the night, so we will be able to purchase tea, coffee and cakes.
While we've been quiet on the bag-making front for a few months, we've been busy setting up a paid position with Sustainable Living Tasmania for our wonderful beeswax wrap coordinator, Hilary. Hilary and the team have been running our educational workshops at schools and in the community this year, teaching children how to make beeswax wraps and how to be part of the solution to plastic pollution. We've also been applying for business and community grants to ensure this project is sustainable and we can continue to offer our workshops to schools at an affordable price. 
We're excited to announce that we have run workshops with over 1500 Tasmanian students so far, so the project is having a huge impact in our community. Our new workshop pamphlet is attached and you can also contact me or Hilary at if you would like any more information about our workshops or how you can get involved! 
We're looking forward to seeing you on 27 May at the Picnic Basket and catching up with you all!
(Posted 24 May 2019)

A Christmas greeting and update from Sarah

(posted 7 December 2018)

I hope that you are all well and looking forward to a break and/or spending time with friends and family over summer!

 Our last sewing bee for 2018 on Monday 10 December 2018, from 6:30pm at the Picnic Basket cafe. Join us to celebrate the huge year it has been, and help us make some bags, bunting and beeswax wraps, or just relax and have a cup of tea :)

 Here are some of the highlights for 2018 (no wonder we've been so busy!):

  • We raised almost $9,000 in our Plastic Free Lunchbox Project crowdfunding campaign, to run beeswax wrap workshops with school students - thanks again to all of our wonderful supporters!
  • Just this year, our amazing team of beeswax wrap facilitators have run almost 50 workshops with schools around Hobart (and as far away as Swansea!), reaching over 1200 students so far - with bookings coming in already for next year! 
  • We also won a waste reduction grant from the Hobart City Council to run beeswax wrap workshops with Hobart schools (if you are a teacher or parent at a Hobart school and would like to book us in for a workshop next year please let me know and I can send through some more information).
  • We made 30 metres of bunting that is now available for our community to borrow for parties and events, along with our set of reusable crockery, cutlery and glassware!
  • We won a grant through LUSH cosmetics to fund Anthony Hill's plastic pollution education program at a number of schools and pay for his travel to Tassie - Anthony reached several thousand students around Hobart during his trip and is planning to return next year to go to schools that missed out. Contact Anthony on his webpage if you'd like more information or would like him to come to your school next year: 
  • We continued to support Hill Street Grocer and other shops and organisations willing to lead the way and encourage our community to transition away from using plastic bags - I have now officially lost count, but we  made well over 700 bags from recycled materials this year!!
  • And finally, we made it to the finals in the Tasmanian Community Achievement Awards! What a wonderful recognition of our achievements.

A huge congratulations to everyone, all of our supporters and volunteers and all of the businesses we have been working with this year. I'm looking forward to celebrating and seeing some of you on Monday :)

Our sewing bees will be back on next year after a little break (probably in late February), so stay tuned


Posted 1 September

Amazingly, we raised $8,700 through our crowdfunding project, which will go towards supporting and subsidising our reusable food wrap workshops with public schools in Tasmania. Thank you again to all of our wonderful supporters! We've been busy making and posting out hundreds and hundreds of beeswax wraps and bags over the last few weeks, but everything is almost under control now! 


 Posted 9 August 2018

Thanks to all of our fabulous supporters, the Plastic Free Lunchbox Project will launch in 4 sleeps!  
 We have almost raised $7,500 to go towards this exciting project (you little ripper!!!!) and have already started making rewards, including hundreds of our beautiful beeswax wraps and bags for all of our supporters. 
 However, we still have a few grand to go before we reach our ultimate goal, so we'd love it if you can join us in giving the project a final push before fundraising ends! The more we can raise through this campaign, the more we more kids we can reach, the more wraps we can make and the more impact we can have. 
We'd love it if you could help us in the last few days of this campaign by:
  1. If you've been meaning to make a pledge, but just haven't had a chance - now is your moment of glory! Ready, set, go! 
  2. Share the project with your friends, family and work colleagues and remind them that there are only a few more days to get involved and support us! 
  3. Our project is also being supported by Future Super, Australia's first 100% fossil fuel free superannuation company. They're donating $125 to our project for everyone that makes the switch during our campaign. If you or someone you know has been looking for an ethical super fund, switching through our campaign will also help us reach our fundraising goal! It only takes 2 minutes, just make sure you join through this link, so we get the $$ from them:
Thanks again to all of the legends that have made a pledge already - we can't wait to send out your rewards and keep you updated on the project as we roll it out!

A Plastic free July

Posted 30 June 2018

Plastic Free July is almost here! Now is your chance to be part of this global movement, and join millions of participants worldwide who are refusing single use plastics for one month.  You can find out more about this great initiative here: 
There are still a couple of spots left in our popular beeswax wrap making workshops, one in Woodbridge on 7 July and one in Blackmans Bay on 21 July 2018. See the Kingborough Council's events program, which has the links to book your tickets! They are also running another great workshop on how to Ditch the Packaging, where you can learn how to make useful things like crackers! 

No more balloons!

Speaking of the Kingborough Council, you will be pleased to hear that at our last sewing bee, our wonderful volunteers made a length of beautiful bunting to donate to the Council for use at their zero waste events. As you may remember, the Council recently voted to ban single use plastics at Council events, which will include balloons. No need for balloons now that they have some handmade recycled fabric bunting to use instead! If you know of a business or organisation that is keen to transition away from using balloons for decorations, let us know! We might be able to whip them up some bunting at our next sewing bee to say thank you :)
Please also keep an eye out for the launch of our exciting crowd funding campaign to raise money for our Plastic Free Lunchbox Project, running beeswax wrap workshops with school kids. The campaign will start very very soon and we have some great rewards on offer for our supporters! :)

Plasticwise Taroona is one year old - Message from Sarah

Posted 31 May 2018

One year ago today, Plasticwise Taroona was born! We started with just a post on Facebook and an empty fabric donation box set up at the Picnic Basket cafe, and look how far we've come since then :)

I've been doing a bit of a stock take on everything we have achieved over the last 12 months, and thought I'd list a few things here just to remind us all how great we are! Every one of you has been involved in at least one of these projects to some extent, so a huge thank you for all of your support.

  • So far, we have made over 1100 reusable cloth bags from recycled materials, involving at least 2000 hours of volunteer time. This project has also given a new life to over 200kgs of scrap fabric and linen, keeping a lot of this out of landfill. 
  • We have worked with a number of wonderful shops and supermarkets to go plastic bag free (yay Hill Street Grocer, Philadelphia Bakers and Mountain Creek Outdoors!), which has already saved over 685,000 plastic bags from ending up in landfill and our oceans so far. We have also set up a community bag library at Hydro Tasmania for their staff who shop in town. 
  • We have worked with four cafes to transition to reusable stainless steel straws (yay Ginger Brown Cafe, Honey Brown Cafe and Brooke Street Larder! Extra kudos for Hamlet Hobart who were already using paper straws :)). I am still collecting statistics on the number of plastic straws this project will save from landfill and our oceans, but rough estimates indicate it will be around 30,000 plastic straws per year (!!). 
  • We have spoken to hundreds of school students about reducing waste and the solutions to plastic pollution, including at Princes Street Primary, Lenah Valley Primary, Taroona Primary and Taroona High. 
  • Thanks to a grant from Huon Aquaculture and our wonderful volunteers, over 100 Taroona Primary students have made reusable beeswax wraps for their lunches, to replace plastic cling wrap and zip lock bags. Many students have been using them every day since (and we have more workshops to come)!
  • We have picked up over 2000 pieces of litter and #plasticpollution from around our local school grounds, and recorded it all in the Tangaroa Blue Marine Debris database. 
  • We've run successful events, including yoga for the oceans and a screening of A Plastic Ocean to around 100 people, with Hill Street Grocer providing plastic free snacks! 
  • Thanks to the Resource Coop, we've set up a reusable collection of cups, plates and cutlery for members of our community to borrow for one-off events. In its short life, this little collection has already saved around 300 plastic disposable cups from ending up in landfill!
  • We were also a semi-finalist in the Tasmanian Community Achievement awards in 2017 :)
Happy birthday to us! Come along and celebrate with us on Monday night - 4 June 2018, from 6:30pm at the Picnic Basket cafe. We will have snacks and some activities to keep us all entertained :)
31 May 2018

What's happening?

Time for another update on our projects, but first for some exciting news. 
On Monday, the Kingborough Council voted to ban single use plastics at council events! The ban will be phased in over 12 months and will include polystyrene food containers, single use plastic cups, cutlery, straws and packaging. 
The ban will also include balloons, which is causing some media interest! As you can imagine, we fully support the inclusion of balloons in the ban, as although balloons are often made out of latex and are marketed as 'biodegradable', they do not break down quickly. Particularly at outdoor  events, latex and other balloons can easily blow away and when they end up in the ocean they can cause harm to wildlife such as turtles and sea birds.   
This is a bold and brave step by the Kingborough Council, which will reduce the amount of litter and plastic waste in our community. We are also now part of an exciting movement - many councils across Australia are implementing single use plastic bans as we speak, including Hobart City Council, the Bassendean Council (WA), Darebin (VIC), Cottesloe (WA), balloon bans in Sydney, Lithgow and Ryde (NSW) and most recently the Brisbane City Council has just banned straws and plastic bottles at council events! 
Thanks to the councillors who voted in favour of this ban, and to all the staff at the council who have been working hard on waste reduction projects :) 
On another note, we ran our second workshop with Taroona Primary School students last week - around 80 students came along and made a beeswax wrap each for their lunchbox! A huge thanks to our beeswax wrap making pro Milly, and to Megan for lining everything up. Word on the street is that the students have been loving the wraps and using them every day (apparently they also make quite good paper aeroplanes!) :)
We are are also working with the Kingborough Council to run bees wax wrap workshops for grown ups - our first session on 23 June has already sold out! We will keep you posted on when the next one will be. 
That is all for today, but I hope to see you soon! Perhaps at our next bag making workshop on Monday 21 May, from 6:30pm at the Picnic Basket cafe? :)


Plasticwise Taroona

A small group of Taroona residents are creating Tasmania’s first bag library!

Bag libraries reduce the use of plastic bags by providing people with a free, fun, sustainable alternative – a bag made out of recycled materials, sewn by volunteers from the community.

This is just the beginning! Taroona is now part of a grassroots initiative gaining momentum around the world to reduce the use of plastic bags, one bag at a time.

Here is how you can be involved:

  • Spread the word!
  • Join the Plasticwise Taroona Facebook Page and keep up to date with the news
  • Donate material and thread. Second-hand materials are suitable for making bags (we can make bags out of anything, I promise you - curtains, linen, pillow cases, t-shirts, trousers etc etc). There is a box at the Picnic Basket Cafe for donated materials.
  • Help us make bags by coming along to a sewing bee at the Picnic Basket Cafe. No sewing skills required! We need people with a whole range of skills to cut, sew, pin, iron and screen print. This project is not just about bags, but about getting together as a community to do something positive, create and learn from each other.

Hill Street Grocer

Did you know that.... Hill Street Grocer currently gives away over 1.7 million plastic bags each year. Through our work facilitating and supporting Hill Street to go plastic bag free from 1 November 2017, we have stopped this enormous flow of plastic bags from ending up in landfill and our oceans - every year into the future! So thank you to EVERYONE who has helped us so far (cutting, sewing, ironing, printing, emailing, spreading the word, trawling social media with me etc etc) - we couldn't have achieved any of this without you.

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