South Burnett cafe is within reach of zero-waste goal
SOUTH Burnett business owner Monique De Martin has been brainstorming innovative ways to run her cafe without producing any waste, in a town with no council-run recycling facilities.
Her determination and passion is paying off.
Ms De Martin said her Nourish Cafe and Smoothie Bar in Kingaroy was closer to reaching her zero-waste goal.
"I'd say we're between 95 to 98 per cent waste-free,” she said.
"We still generate a small amount of waste, and we definitely still have a long way to go.
"The hardest part for us has been with our takeaway containers. The biodegradable ones aren't microwavable, and a lot of our customers are on the go and picking up takeaway food for lunch that they want to then heat up at work.”
Ms De Martin said although she still held onto hope that a recycling system would one day be run from Kingaroy, there were ways businesses and households in the South Burnett could still reduce their waste.
"We take our recycling to the Cherbourg centre. Here we can recycle all of our containers, hard plastics, cans, glass, and paper,” she said.
"Then we take all of our soft plastic to Woolies in Kingaroy. They will take that to recycle as long as it's clean.
"For our scraps, we have a compost. We also put some cardboard into that. We then use this compost and put it back into our soil where our vegie garden is.
"We grow as much of our own stuff for the cafe as possible.”
Living sustainably and working towards a zero-waste lifestyle is something Ms De Martin has been passionate about for nearly 20 years.
"For me it's about love. I just care so much for our planet,” she said.
"I don't understand how anyone could not care. It's about loving ourselves, our bodies, our family, children, friends, and all of the animals.
"If we don't look after our home there won't be anywhere for any of our loved ones to live.”
While it's not always easy, Ms De Martin said she worked to change her habits regarding waste every day.
"For me, I really had to sit down and think about what I was wasting and how I could do better,” she said.
"Then I had to push through being lazy and work towards creating new healthy habits.
"Now it feels strange and makes me sad if I do waste anything.”
Ms De Martin said she was eternally grateful to many of her like-minded friends in the South Burnett.
"There are so many beautiful people who are incredibly passionate about sustainability and the environment here,” she said.
"They have helped me so much. They told me about recycling in Cherbourg.
"Since it's a bit of a drive and expensive we will get together every month or so to take a load to recycle at Cherbourg. There's always a way to decrease your waste.”