The family-owned and award winning craft brewery Smiling Samoyed in Myponga is the perfect place to sample delicious craft brews & pizzas. We sat down with venue manager Karen Galvin to discuss what belonging to Plastic Free SA means to them as small business.
When did you become interested in issues related to plastic pollution?
Having worked in hospitality for around 30 years now, both overseas and here in Aus, I have seen the best and the absolute worst of it when it comes to packaging, food waste and recycling practices. I have a mission to try and help educate the younger ones at work and my kids at home too, to help be part of the change toward a more sustainable future. Every small step is just so important.
How did you become a Plastic Free Champion?
We had already decided years ago as a business that we wanted to be as sustainable a possible, so we started to omit straws long ago and we never actually stocked plastic water bottles at all. The compostable packaging was a wee bit harder, due to great marketing and 'greenwashing' it can be very hard, but we have a great supplier who helps us to make sure we are getting what we expect and want, with no sneaky tricks!!
What has been the easiest /most effective / most exciting change for you to make?
Compostable takeaway containers and cups. Starting dialogue with the customers about our Plastic Free Champion certification, our commitment to sustainability and trying to engage them or at least get them to commit too. Its really awesome when the customer agrees to join you in your mission, and they seem genuinely happy that you have raised the issue and are fighting for the cause. It's a very feel-good moment.
What has been the most challenging change to make?
Training customers not to use takeaway cups and straws at all! Most of the time straws are totally unnecessary and even the takeaway cup request, when they are not even taking away!! You need to be a strong character to call people out! And of course, you need to do it kindly, as people don't want to feel attacked. But it's simply not good enough to just stand back and say nothing at all. If we do that, then we just become part of the problem, so it starts with us being able to speak out. This is hard for a lot of staff (and for people in general).
Where do you see the industry headed when it comes to plastics & single-use waste?
I have a lot of hope. Great people out there doing great things and bringing this issue to the forefront like it has never been before. You guys (Plastic Free SA) for example, but even the councils (District Council of Yankalilla) and the waste providers (Fleurieu Regional Waste Authority) etc... There are some good leaders and some positive work being done.
Do you have any comments or tips to encourage other businesses along the waste reduction journey?
Every single small step helps, even if you think it doesn't. Inspire others, be a leader in this space. Be proud, be loud, just be the change you want to see.
Changes made since joining Plastic Free SA: Displaying educational posters, encouraging reusables, switched to 100% compostable packaging (eliminated PET Sauce Lids on the spot with supplier), joined a weekly compost collection for organic waste (offered by FRWA – Fleurieu Regional Waste Authority)