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Genie in a bottle for medical research

Harriet Green has been collecting recyclable cans and bottles since November last year when Queensland introduced its container refund scheme. Her Dad, Bruce explains what started as an effort to reduce waste quickly turned into a much bigger project.

“Harriet started to generate a fair bit of money by collecting and recycling through the container scheme,” he says. “We wondered what to do with the money, and it was her idea to donate the money to a charity.” The Green family discussed which charity they would like to support.

The enterprising young environmentalist decided to donate her earnings, worth more than $1,000, to the Cherish Women’s Cancer Foundation.

Harriet’s mother, Rachel is an obstetrician and gynaecologist in Ipswich. Rachel had wanted to join the Cherish Trek in Nepal; however, it didn’t work out. About five years ago her sister in the United Kingdom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and was given a 25 per cent chance of survival. Thankfully she survived and is doing well. Intimately knowing the value of medical research, Rachel suggested to Harriet that she support Cherish, and generously offered to match her fundraising dollar for dollar. Harriet will collect and recycle bottles until the Cherish Trek team departs for Nepal in April.

Harriet’s family started to enlist help from neighbours and local businesses. The St Andrew’s Ipswich Private Hospital, Arcadia (a local Ipswich Greek restaurant), Paramedic Barber, the West Moreton Queensland Ambulance Service, and the Ipswich Civic Centre are all supporting Harriet’s efforts.

“People have been very proactive in giving us their rubbish,” Bruce laughs. “We started dropping off tubs at various places, so people could fill the tubs, and then we’ll pick them up. We even pick up rubbish when we’re exercising in the morning. I’ve stopped looking at discarded cans as rubbish. Instead, all I see is 10 cents!”

“You’ve got to make it easy for people to support you, and you’ve got to make it clear you’re donating the money, that it’s not going in your back pocket,” Bruce says. “Harriet has a Facebook page, Harriet’s Heroes, where she thanks everyone who supports her. Recently she presented Dr Andreas Obermair with over $1,000 for Cherish. It was a very proud moment.”

Harriet will continue collecting recyclable bottles and cans for the next charity. If you would like to join her in supporting the Cherish Trek team, you can do so by donating here.