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4 December, 2020

Plastic Bottles Go Snorkelling

An extraordinary sight was seen at the Low Isles, on the Great Barrier Reef near Port Douglas last Monday when Mike Smith went snorkelling with 3,109 plastic bottles strapped to his back.

By Tanya Murphy

He was joined by local conservationists Dean Miller of Great Barrier Reef Legacy and Christian Miller of Parley for the Oceans in a powerful demonstration of how plastic waste is dragging us and our planet down.

“The average Australian buys and throws away a whopping 3,109 single-use plastic bottles of personal care and cleaning products, like laundry liquid and handwash throughout their lifetime,” said Mike.

“It’s easy for us to put our plastic bottles into the recycling bin thinking they’ll actually be recycled but the reality is that only 12 per cent of plastic is currently recycled in Australia.

“Every year Aussie households use almost one billion plastic bottles worth of personal-care and home-cleaning products, stuff like laundry liquid and handwash.

“The vast majority of that plastic ends up in landfill, or worse, the ocean.

“If we can educate Aussies on how simple it is to change their habits and choose to refill and return instead, together we can solve  this plastic problem.”

The desire to solve this problem inspired Mike to start Zero Co, a line of eco-friendly personal care and cleaning products which are delivered in collapsible pouches which can be mailed back at no extra cost for refilling, eliminating plastic waste.

Now, to show that keeping your home and body clean doesn’t have to mean trashing the planet, Mike is road-tripping along the east coast of Australia from Cairns to Canberra with his 3,109 bottles in tow, to promote what he calls “the Great Australian Plastic Purge.”

Along the way, he’ll be meeting with local legends including celebrities, politicians and environmentalists to invite them to join him in a series of unusual moments involving 3,109 bottles.

He’ll kayak down the Brisbane River, surf at the Gold Coast, paddle board in Byron Bay, and ride a tinny in Sydney Harbour, and paddle-boat across Lake Burley Griffin towards parliament house in Canberra on the last day of Parliament for 2020.

Local marine biologist Dr Dean Miller said Mike’s initiative would help protect the ocean.

“Any initiative that helps reduce our dependence on single-use plastics can only be a good thing. It’s easy to forget in our day-to-day lives to choose wisely at the store, to recycle correctly, and to manage our plastic impact on the environment. This approach helps solve all three,” he said.

To rid your life of 3,109 plastic bottles that are dragging you and the planet down, you can order your refillable “forever bottles” and your product pouches from

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