By Quade Au
Within the last few years there has been much change happening to the western suburbs culture. Millennials are suddenly advocating for social issues, residents have evolved outside prejudice thinking long ago and unexpectedly being concerned for the environment is seemingly the current trend.
Neighbourhoods are no longer divided by postcodes or racial sub sects anymore- yet instead now co-exist as one community where residents are beginning to come together when issues concern the majority. Currently as news outlets continually report on the natural changes the earth is unexpectedly experiencing- the biggest worry at the moment, especially amongst the younger demographic is our carbon footprint as a community.
Gradually there has been shift happening in the west in regards to our waste and plastic intake. People are beginning to take note that everyday activities – no matter how small or big still contributes to the well-being of our environment. For a long time, opinions from the younger demographic were almost always dismissed as juvenile thought but as the generations evolve into a more inclusive manner- it is now the millennials whom are creating change and starting conversation.
Seemingly now being environmentally conscious is almost the popular thing to do – whether that is taking public transport over the convenience of driving to even being weary of certain purchases, people are starting to become aware of their environment- so much so that local businesses within the west are adjusting their operations to meet the current trend. Single use plastic bags are quickly being replaced by fashionable canvas ones, unrecyclable coffee cups are moving out of style with reusable alternatives becoming available and bulk buying groceries is unexpectedly becoming the norm. Yet the most noticeable effect this newfound revelation is having can be seen most within our cafés and restaurants, whom are not only taking in account their bio-degradable waste through composting and recycling but are also gradually removing single use plastic straws from their vicinities.
Straws, although small and harmless looking are one of the biggest contributors to plastic being found in the ocean and local rivers. With straws being both non-essential and non-degradable much of the conversations occurring at the moment are questioning why the product is even necessary let alone automatic when ordering a drink. Suburbs such as Seddon and Yarraville whom both largely have a young demographic influencing the culture of the area are quickly adapting to more conscious behaviour- with many hospitality vendors replacing the single use product with reusable alternatives or are entirely removing the straw option altogether.
It is arguable a small change made to a business but considering the spotlight that is presently being shined on the environment consumers are not only quick to appreciate the initiative but also are being given an opportunity to extend awareness on the issue whilst unknowingly reduce their own output of plastic. The impact of removing straws does almost nothing to the revenue of a business- if anything it is one less business purchase to be concerned for but the effect of reducing ones disposable plastic can only be beneficial to our natural surroundings.
It may be a small a decision but it is one that is picking much positive traction in the western community, through something as simple as straws our communal carbon footprint is not only reduced but the community is also coming together once more, building the west to becoming a more unified community.