In 2015 Australians created 2.7 tonnes of waste per person according to the annual National Waste Report.
Mentone Girls’ Grammar student, Emily Tinker is doing her part to reduce our waste through the colourful beeswax wraps she designs, creates and sells through her social enterprise, BeeSustainable.
Emily created BeeSustainable as a participant in the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) $20 Boss program and is the 2018 recipient of the program’s Enterprise of the Year Award, Years 7 – 9.
Students in the program are given $20 in seed funding and the opportunity to plan, budget and market their business idea, and then one month to run their business. At the end of the month participants pay back the $20 with a $1 legacy donation (to support the sustainability of the initiative) and they have the choice to donate any profit to their school or a charity of their choice, or retain a portion for themselves.
BeeSustainble products include two sizes of eco food wraps that can be used in place of cling wrap for preserving food and packaging for sandwiches. The wraps can be washed and reused, lasting up to 12 months. Emily’s business made $800 in just two weeks and has sold more than 150 products.
“Our supermarkets are starting to do great things like ban plastic bags to reduce waste – but there’s so much more single use plastic in everyday life ,” Emily explains.
“If we can increase the range of accessible reusable things like eco wraps it’ll make reducing plastic use easier for all, and hopefully we can eradicate single use plastic altogether.”
Emily said the program gave her the opportunity to build confidence in her creativity and business skills – and to work independently.
“The biggest challenge for me when creating BeeSustainable was sourcing local food grade materials which I could purchase using only the $20 I had — luckily, I was able to use donated fabrics,” Emily says.
“I also worked on my business independently instead of part of a group like most of my peers. I really wanted to design this around something I was passionate about and am really glad I took the chance to try it out solo.”
Since being established in 2015 $20 Boss has become the largest student entrepreneurship program in Australia with over 26,000 students creating over 2,500 enterprises in the past four years.