Early 2019, Brunswick local Sharon Rayner put a call out on her neighbourhood Facebook page encouraging residents to join her in improving their suburb.
Tess McCabe and another local, Clair Anastasi, joined her to co-founded Brunswick Sparkle, a group dedicated to cleaning up rubbish in high traffic areas – near supermarkets, stations, shops and in parks. The trio has been joined by over 310 Facebook members already.
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“Picking up rubbish can feel a bit strange at first,” says Tess. “But in a group, it’s so much easier. We always get people stopping to ask what we’re doing and how they can get involved.”
While picking up rubbish doesn’t directly deal with the root causes of the problem, it builds community, encourages people to take action and creates lovely, clean neighbourhoods. It also raises awareness about the critical need to design harmless packaging, less packaging and improve recycling.
“People want to do the right thing,” says Tess. “We find rubbish because there aren’t enough bins in the right places, or residential bins overflow, or stuff falls out of people’s cars. Once you become aware of litter, you become aware of what you use in your own life and the issues around it.”