Home Environment Forget the freebies!

Forget the freebies!


Spring brings out all the wonderful outdoor market events and agricultural shows across the state and generally pleasing pictures from these events filter into my social media feeds as the weekend draw to a close.

One type of photograph that I do not find pleasing is of a well-intentioned politician or energy company rep handing out ‘free’ promotional items to the public that are detrimental to the environment. Some get it right and offer a reusable tote bag or coffee cup — but plastic bottles of water or balloons on plastic sticks? No thanks, I’ll pass.

I can’t believe that with so much attention currently being paid to climate change and the lack of action from world leaders at the moment that nobody in the PR division stops along the way and thinks, “Maybe this isn’t a good look?”

I think it speaks volumes about both their own and their political party or company’s attitude to the environment.

Side note: balloons never end well with kids. Helium ones come loose and drift off to the sound of your child’s heartbroken wails. Other ones fall off those sticks on to the sharpest blade of grass they can find – bang – more tears and a possible lifelong fear of balloons. That is before they have managed to end up in the intestine of an innocent bird or sea creature!

The first tier of the waste reduction hierarchy is REFUSE. By simply saying no to these promotional giveaways you can make a difference and send a message that you are just not interested.

I would love to see politicians and corporations try some new ideas with what they give away, or even think outside the box to entice people to their stands:
• Recycled paper pencils
• Seed packets
• Discount voucher for coffee at a local business
• Sponsor a refillable water station
• Free, locally-sourced fruit for kids

Try engaging your local community to help source the items — there are a lot of talented people around! Politicians especially — if you are going to be spending tax dollars to sell yourselves, it would be great to stimulate the local economy at the same time!

Or perhaps do away with promotional items altogether? Maybe a smile, a selfie or a handshake and a chance to chat to their local member is all the public really want?