The Plastic Free Mermaid
Kate Nelson is the Plastic Free Mermaid and a Byron Shire local devoted to supporting people to quit single use plastics.
Sunglass Fix is one of many eco warriors who can be found in Northern New South Wales, Australia’s Byron Shire, doing their part to reduce waste and promote environmentally sustainable choices. Kate Nelson is another local who is doing her part to protect our precious planet by waging war on single use plastics. With more than 100,000 instagram followers her book and website I Quit Plastics is devoted to educating people on plastic free living.
For more than 10 years this yogi and ocean loving mermaid has been plastic free. As a volunteer for Dr. Andrea Neal in Santa Barbara, California at Jean Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society she learnt about the impact plastic was having on the ocean. Taking a trip to the Great Pacific Trash Gyre, she collected rubbish samples and discovered it was full of tiny micro plastics. These micro plastics were profoundly interfering with the plankton and small organisms who were struggling to survive in this ocean rubbish dump.
Understanding the severity, scale and urgency of the issue she became an avid lobbier with government and corporates alike. Visiting schools all over the world to share her message. She founded a non-profit to spread the word, clean beaches, and inspire a plastic free movement. In the process she quit plastics herself.
“I stopped using disposable plastic bags, I stopped drinking water from disposable water bottles, I refused straws, I had my coffee for here, not to go. It was not easy. Becoming AWARE of the TONS of plastic in my life was a massive wake up call. I was contributing to the garbage dump in the precious sea that I loved so much.” Over many years Kate has not only been able to make a huge change in her plastic habits but has actually seen some unexpected benefits in her lifestyle. “By abstaining from things packaged in plastic, I make my own. This causes me to hand select fresh ingredients, stock up my bulk spices in the pantry, blend and experiment just to my liking. All of this attention and care takes a bit more time, but there are no surprise chemicals and wouldn't you know, IT MAKES MY LIFE RICHER.
I know my farmers, I tend a garden, I eat fresh, I am healthy, I feel good. My life is more connected to nature than ever.”
Plastic is a material meant to last and is not designed for disposable items. By reducing our dependence on single-use plastics we can reduce plastic in landfill and our oceans. “We are highly intelligent, innovative, and also dependent on the health of our planet; I believe we can do better than disposable plastics.”
Here are some of Kate’s tips on how to start your plastic free journey -
Take an audit of the plastic you use in your daily life to identify common sources and areas for improvement. Keep your plastic trash. Remembering to keep the trash can be hard, so it helps to designate a jar, box, or area in the house to store and monitor all trash created. This holds us accountable, from the stickers on fruit to the lid on a coconut water to the tea bag packaging. Sifting through the trash created over a two-week period reveals much about our lifestyle.
Make a list of the rubbish and reflect on what could be skipped, planned ahead for, or done differently. Perhaps there are healthier choices to be made, both for the planet and our physical body. Success relies on our ability to get creative and plan ahead. It may take a while to build new habits and routines, but the benefits of cutting out plastic waste are tenfold.
Check in with why quitting plastics interests you. Deep down do you care for the earth and know change begins with the individual? Are you keen to detox your life? Are you grossed out by the mass amounts of trash on the streets and in your house? Do you want to save money? Do you want to lose weight or eat healthier? Do you want a more poetic life and relationship with food and nature? Do you want to impress your peers with your eco-greenness? I don't care the "why," I’m psyched you’re after the how; but keeping it real, keeps it sustainable.
Check out Kate’s instagram and website for more plastic free advice!
Did you know that Sunglass Fix founder Craig Anderson when first starting this sustainable business researched the number of sunglasses being thrown away simply due to scratched lenses?! Well he did and his estimate saw a space the size pf the MCG (a very large football field) filled with plastic waste every year. If you want to play a part in going plastic free and have a pair of sunglasses you were about to ditch due to scratched lenses then stop now! Sunglass Fix can give you years more use from your plastic frames by replacing their lenses, simply enter your model number and we can send you a brand new set of precision lenses at a fraction of a cost of replacing. Saving your hip pocket and the planet while you’re at it.