Turtles are Keepers

A group of young Bellingen environmentalists have launched a new Keep-A-Cup campaign, which will see the way that Bellingen drinks its coffee evolve. The teens are designing a reusable coffee cup and approaching local cafes to sign up to the scheme, with proceeds going towards the Save the Bellinger River Snapping Turtle campaign.

The group’s goal is to have all Bellingen cafes on board, to reduce the volume of single use cups in use, and to raise community awareness of the fight to bring the turtle back from the brink of extinction.

The teens decided to take action after taking part in OzGREEN’s MYRiveR Bellinger program, where they investigated the health of the river and learnt about the plight of the turtle.  After spending time out on the river conducting tests, the participants were shocked and saddened to learn about the real health of the river, particularly low dissolved oxygen levels.

They then worked together to create a vision for an alternative future and to build their own action plan. The group brainstormed lots of ideas but settled strongly on the Keep-A-Cup idea.

“We all spend lots of time at the river and we were shocked to see some of the results,’ We are also very concerned about global environmental issues and are worried about the pollution caused by single-use plastic. We wanted to do something that was achievable, but could have a big impact – and Bello has a lot of cafes! We want to help our community to think global and act local.’

The MYRiveR Bellinger participants presented their findings and plans during a community forum and will host a stall and present at Turtlefest too. They will launch a new website soon, where people can pre-purchase a cup. Sign up at savetheturtle.org.au to follow the work of these amazing young citizens.

Snappy facts:

  • 1.2 billion single-use coffee cups are used in Australia every year – enough to reach around the globe 50 times!
  • 1 million single-use cups end up in landfill every minute globally
  • The environmental impact of 15 disposable cups is equal to 1 Keep-A-Cup
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