NEVER A WASTED MO­MENT

Fol­low­ing the suc­cess of the ac­claimed first sea­son of War on Waste, Craig Reu­cas­sel is ready to pick up where the cam­paign left off

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY - SEANNA CRONIN

Fresh from his Lo­gie win, Craig Reu­cas­sel is back to help Aussies com­bat our grow­ing waste prob­lem. Ear­lier this month, the War on Waste host sported an op­shop suit as he ac­cepted the award for Most Out­stand­ing Fac­tual or Doc­u­men­tary Pro­gram at the 60th an­nual TV awards on the Gold Coast.

“That was a nice lit­tle cherry on top,” he says.

“In some ways it’s quite in­sult­ing to me that the clothes you can get from op shops are bet­ter than what I have. I think that says some­thing about my wardrobe.”

Reu­cas­sel re­turns to our screens next week to tackle new tar­gets in­clud­ing plas­tic wa­ter bot­tles and straws, ewaste and fur­ni­ture waste as well as go­ing deeper into pre­vi­ously cov­ered top­ics such as food waste and the re­cy­cling cri­sis.

The show’s first sea­son shined a spot­light on the stag­ger­ing amount of waste Aus­tralians pro­duce as a na­tion.

It was also the ABC’s most suc­cess­ful so­cial me­dia cam­paign to date and spawned a fol­low-up episode and a hit pod­cast.

“I got a lot of great feed­back from mem­bers of the pub­lic who have changed their habits and their ap­proach to waste,” Reu­cas­sel says.

“Peo­ple seem to be re­ally get­ting a sense of the plas­tic dilemma, and its ef­fect on our oceans.

“The fun­da­men­tal ques­tion is how do we stop it? I spoke to a lot of peo­ple who do beach clean-ups and they said ‘We can’t just keep pick­ing it up off our beaches’.”

The first episode in sea­son two fo­cuses on plas­tic waste, and specif­i­cally one-use dis­pos­able drink bot­tles.

Reu­cas­sel as­sem­bled a team to cre­ate a large foot­print on Manly Beach made of one tonne of plas­tic rub­bish, rep­re­sent­ing how much Aussie house­holds throw away ev­ery minute.

In an­other emo­tional scene, he finds hun­dreds of plas­tic wa­ter bot­tles washed up on the banks of the Yarra River.

“That was full-on. When you’re in a city like Mel­bourne and there’s this much waste in the Yarra River it’s dis­grace­ful,” he says.

“It was not just the plas­tic waste that shocked me; it was also the amount of poly­styrene, and this stuff is get­ting flushed out into the ocean.”

He also re­vis­its the sub­ject of re­cy­cling. Ear­lier this year the Ip­swich City Coun­cil sen­sa­tion­ally an­nounced it would stop its kerb­side re­cy­cling.

While that de­ci­sion was later re­versed af­ter swift com­mu­nity back­lash, it sparked a wider de­bate about what China’s crack­down on low-qual­ity re­cy­cling ma­te­rial shipped from over­seas mar­kets will mean for Aus­tralian house­holds.

“Aus­tralia has rested on its lau­rels for a long time and the China sit­u­a­tion will make us take more charge of our re­cy­cling,” Reu­cas­sel says.

“I have be­come slightly ob­sessed by the waste world and there are still ques­tions when you’re try­ing to track where our re­cy­cling goes.

“There’s a whole in­ter­na­tional trade and it can be quite hard to get an­swers as to what’s hap­pen­ing.

“How do we en­sure stuff that is re­cy­clable is dealt with prop­erly?

“Peo­ple shouldn’t stop re­cy­cling; we just need stuff to make it eas­ier.” Sea­son two of War on Waste pre­mieres Tues­day, July 24, at 8.30pm on ABC-TV

Craig Reu­cas­sel will re­turn to our screens next week in the sec­ond sea­son of War on Waste on ABC-TV.

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