Little litter project goes big


Candace Colaco, founder of the Little Litter Project, at a clean-up event in Melbourne’s Carlton Gardens. Photo: Khanh Tran

West Melbourne’s Candace Colaco was frustrated seeing rubbish along the road on her drive to La Trobe University.  So, the 25-year-old decided to set up the Little Litter Project, to clean up her community. Only 15 people turned up in the first year but the project has grown to now have more than  70 participants.  

With a Major in Environmental Science, Colaco used her knowledge and experience to start up the Little Litter Project in 2019.  

The National Plastics Plan Summary by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) revealed Australians used 3.4 million tonnes of plastics in 2018-2019.

“As a person who cares about the environment, I couldn’t stand looking at the amount of trash for months. So I started this project to raise awareness of plastic pollution and waste management,” Colaco said. “At least I could do a small thing to protect the environment rather than do nothing.” 

Candace Colaco (left) with clean-up participants Alex and Angie at the Carlton Gardens event. Photo: Khanh Tran

Realising she would make more of a difference if she could encourage others to help her clean up, she started running events. 

Last ỷear The Little Litter Project won the Environment & Sustainability Award in the We Are Brimbank Council Awards. 

“I have never thought that the project would go far,” Colaco said. “From an idea in my head, now the Little Litter Project is recognized by the community. It is a milestone in my life.” 

She also collaborates with Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) and other groups, such as the Millennial Crisis, to engage more people. The Millennial Crisis is a community of like-minded Millennials & Gen Zs who seek honest conversations about topics impacting the lives of their generations.  

Colaco worked with founder of The Millennial Crisis, Demi Kotsoris, 27, to run a clean-up event at Carlton Gardens in April. 

“We ran up this event to connect like-minded people who care about the environment to create a big change for the community,” Kotsoris said.  

Shuwen Ho, 25, said it was her first clean-up event. She participated in the event to step out of her comfort zone, to meet new friends and do meaningful activity for the community.   

Shuwen Ho (left) picks up cigarettes at Carlton Gardens in Melbourne’s CBD. Photo: Khanh Tran

“I didn’t realise how much rubbish is on the street until today,” Ho said “In only one hour we collected four huge garbage bags.” 

Colaco said, when she started, her big idea seemed ridiculous. She could not imagine the support she has received from people. 

“You won’t know what will happen unless you try,” Colaco said. “I advise people to keep going out, and pursuing their dreams. You will be surprised at the result you get.”