How you can be part of the plastic solution: an interview with Take 3 For The Sea

Take 3 For the Sea is a charity doing outstanding things to help create a cleaner and greener future for us all.

It’s mission: to remove 3 million pieces of rubbish from the environment over the next 3 years.

In addition to this incredible task, the organisation also runs school education programs that increase awareness of plastic pollution and share ways to reduce waste. Go Take 3!

We spoke with Take 3 For The Sea’s Co-founder, Roberta Dixon-Valk, to find out the story behind the company’s existence and what sort of future we should be looking forward to.

How was Take 3 For The Sea founded?

“Take 3 was born in 2009 when Amanda Marechal and I, two beach-loving mothers, developed a simple concept to tackle the ever-growing problem of marine plastic pollution. The idea is to take 3 pieces of rubbish with you whenever you leave the beach, a waterway, a woodland space… or anywhere! Whenever someone takes rubbish with them then they’ve made a difference. We joined forces with environmentalist, Tim Silverwood, and the rest – as they say – is history.”

How are you tracking in your mission to remove 3 million pieces of rubbish from the environment?

“We’re getting there! To try and track the number of littered items being removed by Take 3 participants, we launched a social media campaign called ‘Pick it up. Snap it. Share it.’ over the summer of 2016-2017. A conservative estimate from 1 January to 10 April 2017 gives a grand total of 26,369 littered items removed from the environment. However, this doesn’t capture the number of littered items collected by Take 3 participants in the images that couldn’t be analysed due to poor image quality (usually too many items to count!) or the people who Take 3 but don’t take photos.”

Is there an achievement or contribution that Take 3 is most proud of?

“Reframing the litter problem – it’s not up to someone else, you can make a difference! Take 3 devolves the responsibility to every person, every day to remove plastic pollution. And most people can’t stop at 3. Once people’s eyes are open to the problem of plastic pollution, they can never be closed. Taking this simple message to schools, watching students’ understanding grow and their behaviours change has been a Take 3 highlight. We’ve had primary students running up to us after our school presentation to proudly show us what they’ve picked up from their playground – that’s when you really feel fulfilled!”

What’s the biggest challenge you’re facing? And how can we help?

“The biggest challenge is for every person to redefine their relationship with plastic. Recognising and actively reducing our own plastic footprint is essential to solving this ever-escalating environmental problem. As consumers, we have control over our plastic consumption and we can make a difference – effective immediately.”

What’s your biggest inspiration as a brand?

“One of our favourite brands is ChicoBags. In early 2004, Andy Keller took a trip to the local landfill that would change his life; plastic bags blanketed the landscape. Vowing to stop using single-use bags for good, he dropped a few bucks on a second-hand sewing machine and began sewing what would ultimately become the first ChicoBag reusable bag. The ChicoBag mission is to help humanity abort the single-use plastic habit and it does this by advocating waste reduction and designing the highest quality, longest lasting reusable bags. Gotta love that!”

What does ‘clean and green’ mean to you?

“To me, clean and green means getting up on a Sunday morning and going to shop at our local farmers market. Buying organic, unpackaged, local product with a small carbon footprint means we are buying optimally. Coming home and giving our chooks the leafy spoils and planting new seeds in the veggie patch completes the clean, green cycle!”

TO BECOME PART OF THE SOLUTION

Take 3 For The Sea is on track to achieve its goal of removing 3 million pieces of rubbish from the environment and to educate 300,000 Australian school kids about plastic pollution over the next 3 years.

To keep the good work going, it needs further funding to increase its capacity to deliver its campaigns and innovative educational programs.

You can visit Take 3’s website to make a donation. And participate in their ‘Pick It Up. Snap It. Share it.’ campaign by picking up the litter you find on your travels, taking a photo and sharing it on social media with the #take3forthesea hashtag.

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