With an abundance of simple and accessible alternatives, the switch to a plastic free lifestyle has never been easier. As part of Plastic Free July, the Canberra Environment Centre invites you to meet three Canberrans who have taken up the challenge of living a plastic free lifestyle. Our panelists will be discussing environmental issues caused by plastic consumption, busting some of the myths around giving up single-use disposable plastic and sharing the lessons they have learnt from the switch.
Meet the Panelists
Mia Swainson, Chair
Mia is the current President of the Canberra Environment Centre, where she runs the frequent workshop Halve your Household Waste, and is also the chair of Zero Waste Revolution. A freelance writer and consultant with a passion for sustainable living, her work in sustainable development has spanned more than 15 years and has taken Mia across Australia and around the world. By making one small change at a time, Mia is proof that living a cleaner, greener and simpler life is within everyone’s reach.
Loren Howell, Panelist
Creator of The Plastic Free Shop, Loren was a member of the audience at this event three years ago. The result was “life changing.” Before attending Life Without Plastic, Loren had always considered herself to be an environmentally conscious person. She was avid recycler and always remembered to take her reusable bags to the grocery store. She describes her experience after the event as “going down a rabbit hole and never coming out – in a good way!” She soon learned the awful truth about the overuse of disposable plastic in society, the great pacific garbage patch, the impact our “throw away” culture is having on millions of marine animals, that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050, and that all the plastic ever made still exists. She has lived without plastic ever since.
Loren began creating her own beeswax foodwraps and went on to develop The Plastic Free Shop, with a vision of making reusable and biodegradable alternatives to plastic more mainstream. This will be Loren’s second time on the panel, and she is keen to hear how her fellow Canberrans have become more aware of the plastic problem and share some of her own plastic free challenges and solutions.
Bianca Smith, Panelist
Bianca, aka CBR Waste Gurl on Instagram, is a self-proclaimed “waste nerd.” Whilst always interested in the topics of recycling and sustainability, it wasn’t until Bianca attended a friend’s movie screening of the Australian documentary ‘Blue’ in 2018, that she was inspired to take action. She felt that if many people had the opportunity to view the passionate film, they too would feel compelled to do more for our oceans and environment and decided to hold her own screening. With over 100 attendees, Bianca witnessed how much people do care about our environment, but just don’t know where to start in reducing their ecological footprint. As more and more friends and family came to her asking their waste questions, she took it upon herself to build her knowledge and share her learning with fellow waste warriors on social media. Whilst the first to confess that creating less waste is no easy feat, Bianca is committed to consistently improving her habits so they reflect nature’s best interests whilst inspiring others to join her journey!
Katrina Cachia, Panelist
Katrina is a self-employed horticulturalist and a Canberra local, who currently volunteers at the Canberra Environment Centre. She is extremely passionate about waste management and waste responsibility. Over the years, Katrina has progressively developed a more considerate existence and is constantly looking for ways to improve her and her family’s impact on the environment. Living plastic free is a personal lifestyle that she has been working on and is now reaching out to include both her local and the global community. It is her belief that in this current state of environment, with the world so polluted and contaminated by us, it has never been so important to be pro-active and demand change!