One thing I have really come to admire about Australia is its sustainable efforts. Everywhere I go, I never fail to notice what businesses are doing to curb their impact on the environment. In almost every restaurant I have been to, water is provided at room temperature and with no ice. Also, I have not once received a plastic straw. If one is given, they are always paper, but often it is not provided at all. In stores, plastic bags are extra and most fruits and vegetables are not pre-packaged in plastic. In restrooms, both public and private, there are two flush settings—one of which releases less water. You will never find paper towels in the bathroom and the hand dryers provided are usually Dyson which is known for their environmentally friendly products. On the streets, you will not find rubbish bins around every corner like you do in the States. You would think, as a result, rubbish would be everywhere in the streets, but it is the exact opposite. Australian roads are the cleanest, litter-free roads I have seen. I learned that Australians grow up with the lesson that their trash is their own to take care and not the public’s responsibility to clean up on your behalf. If you do find a rubbish bin, you will always find it placed next to a recycling bin. Australia also handles its sanitary waste separately from regular waste. In the bathroom you will find small bins that have a small opening preventing regular rubbish from entering. This is placed separate from other waste making it safer for those who handle disposing it.
Being surrounded by these positive influences has helped me to change my own habits. I have always been keen to recycling, but I have picked up even more sustainable behaviors since moving here. I plan to continue these behaviors when I get back to the States and hopefully be a positive influence on those around me as well.