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  • Send a letter to the editor on plastic bags

    As part of our campaign and to help increase political pressure we are asking you to write a letter to a newspaper editor of your choice.

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    Please express your concerns about the dangers of single use plastic bags. By spreading our message and adding a personal touch - you will make a difference!

    If you have not written a letter to the editor before -  here's a few helpful hints to get you started:

    > Look up published Letters to the Editor in your chosen newspaper. This is a fantastic way to gauge the writing styles that appeal to that paper's editor.

    > You should also check to see if the newspaper has guidelines for length and other various aspects.

    > Use a personal story or illustration to explain why NSW, VIC and WA should ban the bag.

    For more information and helpful hints on how to write a letter to the editor, head here. Let us know if your letter has been published and we will share it on social media.

    It’s time to take action. NSW, VIC and WA need to adopt this positive protection measure and save countless marine animals!

     


  • Container Refund Scheme and Plastic Bag Ban Becomes Law in Queensland

    IMPORTANT UPDATE: The Container Refund Scheme will be delayed from its scheduled start date of July 1, 2018 until November 1, 2018 to give collection infrastructure more time to be ready. 

    On September 5th 2017, we welcomed the unanimous passage of the Waste Reduction and Recycling Amendment Bill through the Queensland Parliament. The bill confirms a Plastic Bag Ban and Container Refund Scheme (CRS) will be introduced into Queensland in November 2018.

    These new policies represent the most significant litter and plastic pollution measures introduced into Queensland in generations. It's a great leap forward for litter reduction, recycling and collection (and the jobs that go with this) and for community organisations who can make money from collecting bottles and cans.

    Factsheets and Links

    The DEHP has released factsheets about the CRS and bag ban which outlines how they will operate and what they cover. You can click below to download a copy.

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    For more information on the Container Refund Scheme, including a full list of eligible containers, CLICK HERE

    For more information on the plastic bag ban, CLICK HERE

    To register for further updates from the DEHP, you can sign up to  WASTENOTES

    If you are from a Not-For-Profit group or community organisation or school and would like to learn more about fundraising through collecting containers as donations or setting up a Container Refund Point, CLICK HERE

    To register to submit for a tender to become an official Container Refund Point Operator, click below.

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      For further information and questions, please email Kellie at kellie.lindsay@boomerangalliance.org.au

     

    What Exactly is a Container Refund Scheme?

    A Container Refund Scheme involves the payment of a refund (10 cents) for the return of every eligible beverage container to a recognised redemption point. In other words, people get cash for recycling their containers. There are over 40 such systems around the world including in South Australia and the Northern Territory.

    South Australia has had a container refund scheme since 1975, according to the CSIRO Marine Debris Report 2014, the amount of beverage container litter in South Australia is less than the amount of container litter in Queensland 'by a factor of three.’ In Queensland most beverage containers, despite kerbside collections, are wasted in landfill. In SA, container recycling rates are above 80%. In more modern schemes, such as Germany, container collection rates are close to 100%.

    The primary objectives of a Container Refund Scheme should be to:

    • Significantly reduce litter from beverage containers
    • Increase recycling of containers
    • Grow community benefits by providing income to charities; encouraging social enterprises and new jobs and regional business opportunities

    Boomerang Alliance's Position on the Container Refund Scheme

    With over 40 such systems around the world producing huge benefits, the Container Refund Scheme is clearly a good move for Queensland. As long as a World's Best Practice Scheme is introduced, and in combination with the plastic bag ban, we expect litter and plastic pollution could be halved. Our position on a World's Best Practice Scheme includes:

    • All glass, plastic and aluminium beverage containers between 150ml and 3 litres capacity (with the exception of milk, fruit juice and health tonics) will attract a 10 cent refund, when returned to an approved collection point. Wine bottles, currently exempted should be included.
    • We believe that a 10 cent refund will provide the right incentive to encourage container return. If this proves insufficient we urge that the deposit amount should be increased. A refund should be paid according to the preference of the depositor. This could be cash, voucher or direct credit. A voucher (redeemable at a local shop) is our preferred option to encourage the establishment of convenient collection points (Reverse Vending Machines) at shopping centres.
    • We believe in convenient and accessible collection infrastructure. That means the public (and all communities) should have reasonable opportunity to return containers at convenient locations such as shopping centres, other retail places as well as private, council or community-run collection depots. We believe that retailers should have an obligation to provide collection points, as they are required to do at most successful schemes in other parts of the world.
    • The scheme, as proposed, is complementary to current Council kerbside collection services, we support local councils and community organisation having fair access to container refunds and/or handling fees from containers they have collected. We support local business interested in collection to have similar access.
    • In addition to any CRS logo or marking, for ease of operation and efficient refund return we believe that a barcode marking should be mandatory on each eligible container and used to identify and verify a refund. This would prevent fraud and allow remote and community-run collectors to fully and equitably participate in the scheme.
    • We believe that an independent, not-for-profit organisation should coordinate the scheme to ensure an equitable approach for all, accountability and public disclosure on the performance of the scheme. As the provider of containers we believe that the beverage industry should be responsible for covering the costs of the scheme.
    • We believe that the scheme should be regularly reviewed to ensure it is meeting performance targets. Targets for collection and for numbers of containers recycled should be set so that the scheme achieves collection and recycling goals, consistent with the world's best schemes, within 5 years.

     

    Check out our resources on plastic pollution


  • published Queensland redirect in Cash For Containers 2017-02-28 12:38:34 +1100

  • signed cds vic 2017-02-21 13:30:21 +1100

    Ask the Victorian Government to adopt a world class container deposit scheme

    2016 has been a positive year for Australia in terms of reducing beverage litter, with NSW, Queensland, WA and the ACT all commiting to a container deposit scheme (CDS). South Australia have had a CDS for decades and the Northern Territory implemented one in 2012.

    Victoria is the only mainland state that has yet to commit.

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    The Boomerang Alliance is now joining forces with Victorian community organisations and groups to push for action. The Victorian government is defending inaction on CDS with questionable statistics on litter and recycling rates. We are taking actions to dispell myths, raise awareness and work to present the true cost of inaction. The feedback we get from the community is that of overwhelming support for a CDS. Cash for container schemes cut litter, increase recycling rates, create jobs and support the local community by providing income to charities willing to collect cans and bottles.

    We want Victoria to become active NOW and commit to a container deposit scheme, harmonised with other states, in 2017!

    SO, WHAT CAN YOU DO?

    • Sign this petition to Lily D'Ambrosio asking for a CDS

    • Sign up to our campaign and join us in clean-ups, media stunts and other actions

    • Donate to our campaign


    HOW DOES A CONTAINER DEPOSIT SCHEME WORK?

    A container deposit scheme is based on a refundable deposit able to be redeemed by the consumer or collectors at convenient locations. In other words, people get cash for recycling their containers. There are over 40 such systems around the world including in South Australia and the Northern Territory.  In SA which has a 10 cent deposit, over 85% of containers are recycled.

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    4,516 signatures

    Dear Ms D'Ambrosio,

    I support the introduction of a 10c refundable deposit on bottles and cans to clean up litter and increase recycling, in VICTORIA. Newspolls results (conducted in Nov 2013) show that I am not alone – almost 80% of Victorians agree.

    As you know container deposits have operated successfully in South Australia for nearly 40 years and they are effective in over 40 places around the world. Cash for Containers has led to a significant increase in recycling rates in the Northern Territory since introduction in 2012.

    The NSW Government has announced that they will introduce Cash for Containers – beginning in July 2017 and the Queensland Government is working to join up with NSW in 2018.  I want Victoria to be part of a harmonised east coast Container Deposit System.

    Western Australia has also indicated it intends to introduce Cash for Containers - so Victoria looks like being the last mainland state to bring in this proven policy to reduce litter and increase beverage container recycling.

    I support a modern, efficient, convenient and low-cost container deposit system. The social and economic benefits include more jobs in resource recovery and a new source of income for charities. The environmental benefits are enormous with less plastic and other pollution in our waterways, parks and roadsides.

    Litter studies by Sustainability Victoria show an increasing problem with drink containers and many of our waterways experience serious container litter. The Senate Inquiry into Marine Plastic Pollution also recommended State Governments introduce a Container Deposit System by 2020 or Federal action may be warranted. Local councils in the city and country can also benefit from Cash for Containers.

    I call on you to introduce a 10c refundable deposit on bottles and cans in VICTORIA – to reduce the litter and increase the recycling of beverage containers.

    Yours sincerely

    Add signature



  • donated 2016-11-08 20:05:52 +1100

    Historic opportunity to ban plastic bags!

    $20,995.00 raised
    GOAL: $22,000.00

    Did you know that 52% of the world's sea turtles have ingested plastic or other human rubbish? Last year, the Australian Senate Inquiry into marine plastic pollution warned of a ‘looming health crisis’ from eating seafood and ingesting the bioaccumulation of plastic and adhered toxic chemicals. This has to stop!

    At the end of June, the environment ministers will be coming together for their regular meeting. We want their main focus to be a ban on lightweight single use plastic bags throughout Australia. In order for this to happen, we need to urgently mobilise and support our 50 allied plastic bag-free groups.

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    Please chip in today to help us win, it would save countless turtles, whales, birds and other marine life from harm.

    Every donation $2 and over is tax deductible.

    Please contact our donations administrator Jenn (jennb@tec.org.au / 02 9211 5022) for alternative methods of donating.

    N.B.: Boomerang Alliance and its donations are managed by Total Environment Centre (a DGR1 endorsed charity). ACNC-Registered-Charity-Tick.png

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  • published coles woolies action in Latest 2016-10-04 12:15:21 +1100

    Don't let Coles and Woolies rob you!

    Are Coles and Woolworths the new opponents of what the community wants? These major supermarkets are refusing to join Cash for Containers by not providing space within their carparks to allow for consumer refunds. Just when we thought the fight was finally over!

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  • published plastic pollution sign up 2016-07-14 14:47:02 +1000

  • published plastic 2016-07-14 14:41:33 +1000

  • published Nurdles 2016-07-01 20:09:04 +1000

    Nurdles

    By Dave West

     

    Nurdles are pre-production microplastic pellets that are used to make plastic products (they are melted into the moulds for the particular product). Nurdles typically enter the environment by escaping the boundaries of the plastic extruder or recycler factories and are washed into waterways via the nearest stormwater drain, or are lost during transport. This is an offence in every state in Australia, however it has not come to the attention of regulators and may be currently seen as difficult to enforce. However we do not accept this position.

    In Australia we use some 1.5-1.7million tonnes of pellets and flake (the equivalent material when sourced from recycling) each year.

    Over several years, Tangaroa Blue carried out a number of studies concerning the prevalence of nurdles along our beaches and coasts. It undertook sampling across 41 broad geographical locations including river systems in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide and found concentrations as high as 6,000 nurdles per square metre of beach. Boomerang Alliance’s sampling across hundreds of locations are showing that, on average, there are some 60,000 pieces of microplastic found along each kilometre of coastline – without question nurdles are the most common microplastic we find.

    Many reasons exist to explain the abundance of pellets in the environment, including unsound practices within factories in regard to cleaning spill-over, but more important is perhaps the lack of mitigation methods that are designed to prevent such incursion to the environment from the factory floor. Factories hose their buildings and workshop floors down at night, resulting in pellets washing into drains — a documented practice at several major factories in our cities.

    Filtration systems on stormwater drains are unable to capture nurdles, so once they are in gutters or drainage areas, they are easily washed into stormwater outlets, resulting in entry to the river systems. Further, when transporting the resin pellets, hopper cars and trucks are not required to have lids on containers of pellets.

    Closely resembling fish eggs, nurdles are commonly ingested by sea life. There is growing concern that sea life ingesting microbeads creates significant potential for microbeads to pass them through the food chain and onto our dinner plates.

    In water environments like the ocean, nurdles and other microplastics have been found to attract other oily chemicals floating about. This was first measured in 2001 by Japanese researchers who found that the plastic production pellets collected from coastal Japanese waters had accumulated toxins at concentrations up to a million times that found in the surrounding seawater.

    Boomerang Alliance ally, Tangaroa Blue is the leading voice on working with the plastics industry to develop suitable mechanisms and procedures to ensure they stop polluting our waterways with nurdles. Tangaroa operate the Australian arm of the global Operation Clean Sweep Campaign.

    It is already an offence in all Australian states for manufacturing facilities to be allowed to escape their control yet, to date, we have found no instance where our environmental regulators have issued a fine of penalty. Simple inspection and enforcement including mandating pollution reduction plans can do much to eliminate this threat.

     

    >> SEE ALL OUR RESOURCES ON PLASTIC POLLUTION

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  • published Microbeads 2016-07-01 20:08:24 +1000

    Microbeads

    By Dave West

     

    Microbeads are tiny plastic microspheres added to a range of products as a gentle abrasive in personal care (exfoliants, body washes toothpaste, etc.) and household cleaning (detergents, waxes, and polishes) and are also used in health science research, microscopy techniques, fluid visualization and fluid flow analysis, and process troubleshooting.

     

    microbeads

    Microbeads at 50 times zoom

    Generally made from polyethylene (but can be also be made of polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and nylon), microbeads are commercially available in particle sizes from 10 µm to 1000 µm (1mm) in diameter. To give perspective on how small these microbeads are - a human hair is around 18 µm in diameter.

    Although useful in some of their medical applications, microbeads pose an environmental hazard when disposed of in waste water, as they are so small pass through filtration systems in sewage treatment plants without being captured.

    Their use and disposal creates plastic particle pollution of our waterways, coastline and oceans. Like all plastics, micro and nano scale plastics like microbeads have significant potential to act as a toxic sponge – sucking up persistent organic pollutants and heavy metals to become a major vector for distributing toxic materials across the environment and importantly into our food chain. Micro and nanoplastics are seen to be a more direct threat than plastics generally as they are readily mistaken for fish eggs, zooplankton and other sources of marine food. There are serious concerns that when seafood ingests microbeads it creates significant potential to pass through the food chain and onto our dinner plates.

    Reports have shown that even if using sophisticated (and expensive) processes for settling solids in sewage to remove up to 99% of microbeads from the final effluent that is pumped into our waterways, these processes would still create a major source of pollution. For example, it has been estimated if just 1% of microbeads escape capture in the sewerage treatment plants across the San Francisco Bay area, some 471 million microbeads would be released every single day. Screening systems in Australian sewer capture very few if any microbeads. 

    While the extent of the problem in Australia remains unknown, a single tube of deep facial cleanser can contain 350,000 microbeads, demonstrating that the level of microbead pollution is substantial. Based on international estimates it is likely around 650 tonnes of microbeads enter Australia’s marine ecosystems annually.

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    Microbeads can play a constructive and vital aspect of some products, but justification for the use in consumer goods is very problematic.

    As a result of high profile campaigns in Australia and across the globe many manufacturers and retailers have begun to phase out their use. Last year, the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 was passed in the U.S.A. prohibiting the manufacture and introduction into interstate commerce of rinse-off cosmetics containing intentionally-added plastic microbeads, by July 1, 2017.

    There is strong momentum for a ban in Australia, Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt announced in December 2015 that state and territory governments had agreed to a voluntary phase-out of microbeads in cosmetics by July 1, 2018. In January of this year Coles and Woolworth’s both announced that they would stop using microbeads in their own products from 2017, while global companies including Unilever, Beiersdorf​, Johnson & Johnson and The Body Shop have already commenced the phase-out.

    While we congratulate the Federal Government on their commitment to a phase out, the timetable of July 2018 is too slow. There may also be problems with ‘free riders’ under a voluntary agreement and legal action will likely be necessary to capture all producers.

    Boomerang Alliance is calling for the ban on microbeads to include laundry detergents and cleaning products as well as cosmetics and personal care products by July 2017, and must be underpinned by legislation to ensure any substitutes are safe to enter the environment.

     

    >> SEE ALL OUR RESOURCES ON PLASTIC POLLUTION

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  • wants to volunteer 2016-10-21 10:54:36 +1100

    Volunteer

    People just like you have built the Boomerang Alliance into a powerful force for change.

    No matter what your skills we can use them to stop the tide of litter threatening our ecosystems.

    Whether you help out in the office, on the street, at community events or from your own home, your efforts will make the difference that could save the environment for future generations to enjoy.

    Become a volunteer

  • commented on APC Recycling Black Hole 2015-07-09 14:10:26 +1000
    We would love it too and it really works! South Australia enjoys a recycling rate of cans and bottles of between 75-85% while the rate in other states is less than half of this.

  • published Example CDS letter NSW 2015-07-01 14:48:02 +1000

    Example of a letter for the Premier of NSW

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    You can contact Mike Baird by email or send him a letter.

     

    The Hon. Mike Baird, MP

    Premier of NSW

    GPO Box 5341

    SYDNEY NSW 2001

     

    Date:

    Dear Premier Baird,

    Your announcement that the NSW government would introduce a Container Deposit System (CDS) in NSW in July 2017, is most welcome. For too long we have had the problem of littered drink containers in our streets, parks and ocean; as well as wasted resources.

    I am concerned however to hear that the beverage industry is trying to replace a CDS with a plan that will only target a small amount of the bottles and cans that are currently not recycled.

    It is critical that the NSW Container Deposit System is comprehensive and nothing short of a genuine world best practise system. This would mean that the vast majority of the drink containers are recycled. It would also create many significant opportunities for charities, schools and local sporting groups to earn much needed income. It’s a far better system than that being proposed by the beverage industry.

    Our environment and community deserve this.

    Please tell me you will give NSW an effective Container Deposit System.

    Yours sincerely,



    Sign

    Name

    Address (including postcode)

     

    To print this letter, click here.


  • published Example CDS letter QLD 2015-06-29 11:34:20 +1000

    Example of a letter for the QLD Env Minister

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    The Hon Steven Miles, MP

    Minister for the Environment

    GPO Box 2454

    BRISBANE QLD 4001

    environment@ministerial.qld.gov.au

    Date:

    Dear Mr Miles,

    Now that the state government has agreed to investigate container deposits for cans and bottles and look at restricting plastic bags, I am writing to let you know that I support the introduction of a 10c refundable deposit on bottles and cans to clean up litter and increase recycling in Queensland.  The sooner the better!

    Queensland is the most littered mainland state in Australia and bottles and cans are a huge part of the problem.

    NSW Premier Baird is implementing this scheme because it works.  Supported by 86% of Queenslanders (Newspoll Feb 2015), it has successfully operated in South Australia for nearly 40 years; and has made huge increases in the recycling rate in the Northern Territory in its first three years. 

    It will greatly increase recycling of bottles and cans in Queensland and make a big dent in the litter polluting our beautiful coastline, bush trails, waterways, streets and public places, and harming wildlife.

    I support a modern, efficient, convenient and low-cost container deposit system.  I want Queensland to be part of a harmonised east coast Container Deposit System.  The social and economic benefits include more jobs in resource recovery and a new source of income for charities.

    Please ask Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to act.

    Sincerely,

    Sign:

    Print Name:

    Address, including postcode:

     

    To print this letter, click here.