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Ballarat start thinking about the impact of single-use plastic bottles

Join Central Highlands Water this long weekend in their crusade to reduce single-use plastic bottles.

To demonstrate the sheer amount of waste single-use plastic bottles create, you’re invited to discover the Central Highlands Water Giant Turtle structure set-up on the main lawn at the 2019 Ballarat Begonia Festival.

The seven metre Eastern Long-necked Turtle, which is being constructed by Castlemaine decorative iron artist Neil Tait and his team, is now in its final stages and will be officially launched at the Begonia Festival this weekend.

This particular turtle, which can be found in many lakes and rivers around the region, represents one of many animals impacted by single-use bottle waste.

The turtle’s shell will be filled with single-use plastic bottles throughout the festival – A visual representation of the burden felt by the environment due to plastic waste.

Central Highlands Water General Manager of Customer and Community Jacqueline O’Neill said on average 5.7 million Australians use single-use plastic bottles in any given week.

“Three-hundred-and-seventy-three (373) million single-use plastic bottles end up in landfill every year in Australia,” she said.

“So join the crusade and bring your single-use plastic bottles along to help fill the turtle.”

For artist Neil Tait and his son Tristan, working on the giant turtle structure has been an exciting project for their team who have put hours of work into designing the giant turtle.

“Over the years Tait Decorative Iron has worked on a number of left-of-field custom work, although this the first giant turtle we have made,” he said.

“We are very excited that the turtle will add a colourful and bold element to the Begonia Festival with a focus on water ecology – Hopefully, the interest continues to appeal to children and adults alike after the festival with the turtle being relocated to a children’s playground.”

Neil said the finishing touches were currently being added to the turtle, which will be named by a local school or community group as part of a competition currently being run by Central Highlands Water.

“After refining the turtle’s design, the main structure was fabricated by rolling and welding a number of steel pipes together, starting with a large steel ring to form the main body,” he said.
“Hand-painted graphic panels will now be added to the sides to give the design some defining features.”

Central Highlands Water is returning to this year’s festival with its Be Smart Choose Tap refillable drink bottles.

“Last year was a sell-out with more than 3,000 refillable bottles sold, raising over $15,000,” Ms O’Neill said.

“Central Highlands Water is proud to announce that this year all proceeds will be going to a local charity WRISC Family Violence Support.”

Central Highlands Water is once again proud to be the community partner of this year’s Ballarat Begonia Festival which takes place this Labour Day long weekend at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens.