One Kensington local doing his part for the community and planet

Kaylah Joelle Baker

A new sustainability forward idea has been initiated at the McCracken St Food Share Pantry in the form of blue towels, with Kensington local Joseph Tubon at the forefront of the addition.

Putting the initiative into action on June 5, the supply of the reusable towels has been positively received by the community despite a hiccup in the system already having to be dealt with.

But Mr Tubon is remaining positive that the initiative is still worth actioning.

“I left a bunch of single ones for people to grab for free and then others in a box packaged in a bundle of five with a money jar but sadly all the towels are gone, and the money jar is empty,” he said.

“But hopefully we can figure out a way to get some money for them as two dollars [for each bundle] will go to the food share pantry and three dollars will hopefully go to the washing machine and laundry detergent used when I wash them in a 50-degree cycle.”

Working as a registered nurse in a Parkville operating theatre, Mr Tubon first became aware of the amount of wastage that occurs in the hospital following a sustainability conference, and in particular the wastage of the blue towels.

The blue towels come to the hospital in a sterile packet and are used only once to dry hospital workers’ hands after they do a five-minute surgical scrub and before they put their gloves and gowns on.

Following their use, they are then put in a bin that has not been emptied and picked up by a local charity since COVID.

“I thought maybe I could do a little more about the overflow of the blue towels as they are so useful. It seemed like such a waste for them to go straight to landfill,” he said.

“I use them at home all the time for cleaning the coffee machine, kitchen, spills or cleaning my bike.”

Hopeful the idea will continue to be embraced by Kensington and other communities, Mr Tubon said he was now “so driven” to continue with the initiative and help with minimising the waste to landfill.

He is also currently speaking with the Kensington Neighbourhood House on a new way to launch the idea, with plans to keep them inside the centre, during operating hours, as the next option.

Kensington Neighbourhood House (KNH) told North West City News that despite the towels being taken without donation, the idea remained a positive one for the pantry as it aligned perfectly with their principles.

“Joseph’s initiative is another wonderful example of community-led solutions – locals finding ways to support each other while reducing our environmental impact,” the KNH spokesperson said.

“The McCracken St Food Share pantry’s concept is ‘Give what you can. Take what you need.’ A simple idea brought to life by the energy and dedication of a group of volunteers and kept alive by the generosity and goodwill of local residents.”

Much trust is placed in the community when it comes to the McCracken St Food Share Pantry, and by and large, it has been a resounding success.

While confusion may have been the reason behind the towels being taken without donation, it is one Mr Tubon is not hung up on due to the positive sustainability aspect outweighing the false start. •

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