By Kate Langbroek

Life is like a yoga pose. It’s uncomfortable but when you breathe into it, it eases and all of a sudden you think ‘Oh! Actually, this feels amazing’.

This has been one of my ongoing mantras during both lockdown in Italy, and returning back to the busy always-on life here in Australia.

In a regular world with work life or school life, a portion of yourself is hidden. But when you are with someone 24/7, literally locked in a house together, you come to see all sides of them.

While at times this was probably mildly traumatic for my kids (and painful for us parents too!), once we started accepting it for what it was and easing into the lockdown, we ended up having a really beautiful time together.

In a regular rushed life with a family unit of six, there’s always so many divergent calls for your attention; school, sport, work – and all the rest of it! But when you take all that away, you just have each other, and you begin learning more about your family; how to connect, how to help out, how to give each other space when needed.

This was our pandemic-life experience and it was beautiful. We even started spending every meal together, which is something we never used to do.

The radio star was enjoying a fabulous new life in Bologna, Italy with her husband, Peter, and their four children when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and they were forced into weeks of strict lockdown.

Being in one space, having all those meals together, we also started to see something else; the waste our everyday lives create piling up around us! The amount of plastic alone was an eye opener and I started becoming really conscious of it.

I started thinking, if just the six of us generate all this waste, and everyone’s doing this to some degree, that’s just too much and it’s heartbreaking.

This is why I’ve taken my newly found environmental passion and become an ambassador for the Wonder Recycling Rewards program – an initiative happening across Australia that is so easy for families to get involved in.

Believe it or not, Aussies buy around a million loaves of bread a day – that’s a lot of toast! But it’s also a lot of plastic waste packaging. Our family goes through seven loaves of bread a week, can you believe it?

Wonder Recycling Rewards is a new program in schools, where kids can collect their soft plastic bread bags and drop them at their school’s collection boxes where they will be transformed into play equipment by recycling wizards Replas, as exercise circuits for schools to win  – which is really just the perfect cyclical thing.

Kate and her two sons are involved in a recylicing program for plastic bread bags.

My two youngest sons are just mad about this whole thing. They like the competition and responsibility. It’s something the kids can take ownership of. Not to mention as adults, we don’t need to put another thing on our plate (metaphorically speaking of course – literally I put a lot on my plate).

It’s exciting to see that over a thousand schools have signed up for the program before the cut-off date! So be sure to find out if your school is one of them and get involved.

If not, don’t forget you can take those soft plastics to collection points at Coles or Woolies. In Australia, the majority of all plastic packaging is recyclable, but only 18% actually gets recycled. So this is a really easy way for people to take a little step as a family to reduce their waste. We can’t do everything, but if there is a chance to do something, let’s take that opportunity.