Editorial: Change starts with you

February 2019: Why engaging the individual is critical to improving sustainability

 

For businesses or communities looking to make significant progress towards their sustainability goals, the buy-in of their people is essential. We can set up the right bin systems but if the users are not engaged to use them correctly, it’s all going to waste. For individuals, sometimes it feels like using a reusable coffee cup and bringing your own shopping bags is so trivial that it doesn’t make an impact. But something interesting happens when you show people just how big a difference one person can make.

 

Individual action creates a multiplier effect

 

When Ian Keirnan started Clean Up Australia 30 years ago, it was a small community event supported by a committee of friends. Today, Clean Up is Australia’s largest community-based environmental event, attracting over 700,000 volunteers in Australia last year alone.

 

For people who participate in Clean Up, there’s something about picking up litter that means you can no longer ignore it. You might call it the “Clean Up effect” – even once your volunteer day is over you can never walk past litter again. It opens your eyes to the real impact an individual can have on the environment.

 

That’s why participating in a Clean Up event is a great way to engage your employees or community in the big picture message on sustainability. Sustainability goals or targets can feel abstract, or unachievable, but Clean Up Australia Day is simple and tangible. Whether it’s a Clean Up at your office, your street or the local park, helping people focus on the direct impact of their actions can start the conversation on other sustainability behaviours like waste management and recycling.

 

Think global, start local. Consider organising a Clean Up event to help your group see what a difference they can make.

 

Cleanaway is the national partner of Clean Up Australia. We work with business, communities and industry to provide customised waste management solutions to achieve sustainability goals. Contact us today to find out how you can help make a sustainable future possible.

 

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