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SGC Profile – Mitch Longhurst and Liz Lemieux – Founders, Plastic Free Coolangatta

Posted on Wednesday, October 31, 2018

After meeting at a Plastic Pollution Solutions trivia night a few years ago, Mitch Longhurst and Liz Lemieux had an instant connection due to their love of the ocean, surfing and passion for the environment. 

Inspired by our beautiful environment and world-renowned beaches, the pair decided to start Plastic Free Coolangatta to raise awareness about plastic pollution and to encourage our friends in the local community and businesses to make positive changes.

“We all share the responsibility of looking after our environment and small changes to reduce single-use plastics in our lives can help keep our beaches clean and reduce the chance of accidental ingestion or entanglement for our wildlife,” Mitch and Liz said.

Plastic Free Coolangatta has worked alongside a range of local business to reduce single use plastics. The first business they collaborated with was Rattlesnake Motel in Coolangatta which has now been plastic straw free since 20 April, 2018.

“This initiative has not only saved approximately 28,000 plastic straws from going to landfill but saved their business over $1,000.”

“Another business we have worked with to reduce single-use plastics is O’Sushi who earlier this year switched to paper straws, bamboo takeaway cutlery and are currently in the process of changing all their takeaway containers to non-plastic options.”

Aiming to raise awareness and encourage the community and local businesses to support plastic free living, Plastic Free Coolangatta is involved in a range of local events and activities.

“A few months ago we organised a beach clean-up in collaboration with local Coolangatta surf label Panamuna Project and plan to continue organising activities with them in the future.”

“We also do our best to support other organisations that run regular beach clean-ups such as Friends of Rainbow Bay Society and BeachCare which is facilitated by Griffith Centre for Coastal Management in partnership with the City of Gold Coast. We also helped support the recent Seaside Scavenge event that was held in Rainbow Bay where we collected 70kg of rubbish.”

Mitch and Liz encourage both individuals and local businesses to join the movement and make positive changes toward plastic free living.

“To individuals, start small – choose one single-use plastic item you believe you can remove from your life and do it like a reusable water bottle, coffee cup or bag.”

“To local businesses, try removing one single-use plastic item and see how it goes. Switch to paper or reusable stainless straws or encourage customers to bring their reusable coffee cups by offering a small discount.”

Individuals, community organisations and local businesses on the Southern Gold Coast that are working to reduce single-use plastic and helping to keep our environment clean are encouraged to contact Plastic Free Coolangatta via Facebook or Instagram at @plasticfreecoolangatta.

If you are interested in coming along to Plastic Free Coolangatta’s next beach clean-up or help collaborate with local businesses, email Mitch and Liz at plasticfreecoolangatta@gmail.com.

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