Onkaparinga couple take their eco-message to the big screen
It’s the festive season and a growing number of big and small events are going green, choosing to decorate with paper pinwheels and hessian bunting rather than balloons. Natural-themed parties are on trend, and for marine and wildlife, that’s something to celebrate.
With four children Jonathan and Tina Hart have hosted many parties. Yet something wasn’t right. With a concern for the environment, using non-sustainable products took the shine off the celebrations. The alternative was hours spent at the kitchen sink washing dishes — also unappealing.
Sourcing eco-friendly products changed their lives, not just personally but also professionally, and today the Aldinga couple heads Eco Party Box, shipping compostable and mostly Fairtrade and locally-made party products across Australia.
An unexpected consumer, filmmaker Carly Wilson, was so impressed by the business idea that she flew from Queensland to feature Jonathan and Tina in her documentary Rubber Jellyfish. The Adelaide premier screened at Wallis Noarlunga last October, presenting compelling evidence that balloon debris is responsible for unprecedented numbers of deaths among marine life.
This is the driver behind Eco Party Box, and after eight years of single-mindedly singing the praises of compostable products, Jonathan and Tina now have a diverse audience. From parties and weddings, to festivals and on-trend cafes, their customers are choosing stainless steel straws over plastic, and bunting over balloons.
The City of Onkaparinga has validated Eco Party Box with an ON Business Partner Program grant of $3000 to provide local festivals with bin covers, ensuring disposable tableware and food scraps make it into the appropriate bins.
“Onkaparinga is among the most progressive councils in Australia; has been for years,” Jonathan says. “Moving away from balloons and towards compostable products at public events is impressive; as is managing festival waste so that compostables and recyclables don’t needlessly go to landfill. It’s something other councils should be looking to implement too.”
“We don’t want to be party poopers,” Tina says. “But we want to encourage people to party sustainably; to celebrate the occasion with a lighter ecological footprint.”
Released balloons are litter
Balloon releases are usually planned as a celebration or as a memorial for a loved one. Whether released kilometres inland or at the beach they all eventually come back down to earth and end up washing down the storm drains, into our creek systems and oceans where they can then be eaten by or entangle precious marine life. Studies report that by 2020 all seabirds will have digested plastic.
The City of Onkaparinga is developing a policy whereby events held on areas under its care will ban single use plastics, instead recommending biodegradable or compostable tableware and decorations.
JONATHAN AND TINA HART
present their eco products at the Adelaide premiere of Rubber Jellyfish.