Community creates a more sustainable future

When I moved from Denmark to Australia in 2012, I noticed some differences in attitudes towards sustainability and waste management. Back home, I would sort waste into eight different bins daily, but here in Australia, people generally only sort waste into two bins: recycling and landfill. Sustainable trends are increasing worldwide, but as a global movement, a truly sustainable future needs communities working together.

That’s why I founded Reground in 2014. I aim to reduce the amount of coffee waste that ends up in landfill and educate people about how they can adopt sustainable practices. Part of the “circular economy”, Reground aims to ensure waste is not only minimised but is used as a resource rather than thrown away.

At the heart of what I do is education, and ensuring more people understand what they can do to help build a sustainable future. Here are my top tips on how to build a sustainable movement.

The value of community

Building a sustainable future requires a collaborative effort. That’s why it’s important to recognise the value of other people, businesses and communities, and their impact on our long term goals.

Reground’s community is made up of the businesses it collects coffee grounds from, and the individuals and community gardens that use the coffee waste as fertiliser. By encouraging individuals and businesses of all sizes and across industries to work together, Reground’s community can spread the word about sustainability. Community promotes collaboration, so when people work together, the end goal becomes more achievable.

Online presence

As a small business owner, I don’t have access to the resources that large businesses have, so educating people about sustainability on a bigger scale isn’t always easy. That’s where having an online presence can help. It’s a great asset for any business wanting to grow its community and reach a wider audience. Much of my day to day work is hyperlocal, so getting online with GoDaddy has helped me to reach more people, cafes and businesses across Melbourne. It has also allowed me to expand Reground’s reach and create a wider movement.

Social media has also been a great tool for engaging our audiences. 79 per cent of Australians are now active on social media, which means we can engage with more people, and educate a growing audience about the importance of sustainability.

Live and breathe your purpose

To change the way that people deal with waste, it’s important to lead by example. This means Reground’s values need to be ingrained in everything the business does. That’s why I think about the business’ purpose in every decision I make. Whether it’s partnering with businesses that embody our values and practising sustainability in our everyday lives, modelling the behaviours I want to see in the future encourages others to follow suit.

Sustainability is a global movement, so to move the needle, it’s going to take a lot of time and combined effort from many individuals and businesses. But through collaboration with individuals and other small businesses in my local community, and using an online presence to build a wider movement, I believe we can take steps towards creating a positive change.

Ninna Larsen, Founder, Reground

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