Ashleigh and Jaine Morris are Co-Founders of The Circular Experiment. The sisters have extremely diverse and complementary skills sets and are often coined ‘the substance and sparkle of The Circular Experiment’ respectively. Ashleigh holds a Bachelor of Environmental Health Science and First Class Honours in Environmental Management. Jaine is a gifted ‘people person’ and has an extensive history of being able to quickly foster connection and gain trust in challenging situations.
The Circular Experiment project is the first of its type in Australia, which implements circular economy principles of resource efficiency, with 45 businesses involved. Ocean Street in the CBD of Maroochydore is representative of many city streets around Australia that currently operate within a traditional linear ‘take, make, use, dispose’ economic model. Ocean Street produces 10 tons of waste per week including 500 kg of coffee waste and 7,700 litres of food waste. An estimated 10,000 cigarette butts currently litter Ocean Street.
Impact on the Reef
The waste currently generated on Ocean St is immense and this has an impact on the health of the reef through several means. Firstly, Ocean street is only 50 meters from the Maroochydore river, and as such much of the litter generated on the street finds its way into the nearby waterways and ends up as marine plastic pollution in the ocean. Secondly, when food and organic waste is landfilled it produces approximately 25 times more greenhouse gas emissions than regular waste, thus contributing more rapidly to global warming.
Action being taken
Ocean Street involves a number of sustainable initiatives, including:
- A commercial composting program to divert all of Ocean Streets food waste from landfill
- A coffee waste diversion program to support two local farms
- Queensland’s first business to business asset sharing platform
- Anti-littering campaign specifically cigarette litter
- Educational waste workshops for the public
- Cost benefit analysis for one restaurant to reduce electricity consumption by 40%
- Plan to reduce single-use plastics by 50%
- Reverse logistics program for plastic containers to enable re-use multiple times
- Artivism wall murals (17m x10m) to highlight reef conservation
- 70%of waste currently produced on Ocean St - diverted from landfill
- 100%of coffee waste produced on Ocean St - diverted from landfill
- 80%reduction in litter by December 2018
Unite for the reef.
Together, we can ease the pressures that the reef faces - but we need your support to do it. Because it’s only when we’re united as Citizens, that our individual actions can come together to make a real, physical impact on the Great Barrier Reef.