Plastic is definitely off the menu at Ballarat’s newest cafe.
The Healthy Hub opened this week in Bridge Mall with a focus on healthy organic food, sustainable practices and no plastic.
“It’s really important for us to be sustainable environmentally and provide real health food that fuels the body and is good for the environment,” said cafe co-owner Stacey Gibson.
“Our body can’t digest plastic so having it in your diet can cause a lot of problems, and before you say we don’t eat plastic it’s in our sea so ocean fish and crustaceans ingest it, it comes out when you heat up food in microwave containers, and standard takeaway cups have a plastic film that we ingest.”
The cafe is proudly plastic-free, with no plastic bags, no plastic bin bags, no plastic straws, no plastic cups or bottles, and all takeaway drink cups and food containers are made from compostable corn starch and sugar cane packaging.
Even the children’s toys, furniture, toilet paper, napkins and tissues are environmentally friendly.
In the next few weeks, the second storey of the cafe will open as a wellness centre with yoga, meditation and other health services.
The Healthy Hub is one of many Ballarat businesses looking toward a more sustainable future.
Business owners have taken the first step toward cutting out the use of plastic bags at an information night to learn how to encourage customers to reduce their reliance on single-use plastic, the biggest single item of which are plastic shopping bags.
“The emphasis of Plastic Free July is minimising the amount of single use plastic and retailers taking the initiative to encourage customers to not take a bag,” said La Vergne Lehmann, Grampians Central West Waste and Resource Recovery Group acting executive officer.
“If we can get stores to take some initiative and communicate the message eventually it will occur for people not to ask for a bag, but it’s a slow and steady process for doing it that way.”
Plastic bags, takeaway coffee cups, bottled water, drinking straws and take-away cutlery are all in the sights of campaigners.
More than four billion plastic bags alone end up in landfill in Australia every year, with 150 million entering the waterways.
”If we start getting retailers to think about their products and how they’re packaged, and get people to carry their own bags, it will empower the community to do it themselves and start a conversation.”
Cr Belinda Coates said despite a recent Ballarat Council vote against a proposal to back a state government plastic bag ban, there was strong support to work with community and business toward reducing plastic bag use.