In an historic decision, the Queensland Parliament unanimously passed the Waste Reduction and Recycling (Plastic Items) Amendment Bill 2020 today to ban certain single use plastics from use.
‘From 1 September 2021 plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates and bowls and expanded polystyrene cups and containers will be banned,’ said Toby Hutcheon from the Boomerang Alliance
‘These are amongst the most littered items in Queensland with the most recent Clean Up Australia Report for QLD estimating that over 30% of all litter collected was plastic packaging.’
‘Queensland is the second State in Australia to introduce laws to ban single-use plastics. We congratulate the State Government on introducing this bill.’
‘We also acknowledge the LNP and the Greens who have actively supported the legislation. The bans are supported by all the major hospitality and retail industry sectors and APCO who represent the beverage and packaging sector. ‘
Major fast food and retail chains have already stopped or are about to stop supplying these items as part of the global push to reduce marine plastic pollution.
The Boomerang Alliance Plastic Free Places program, which has been active in Noosa, Cairns and Townsville, has demonstrated that cafes and events are willing and able to switch to non-plastic or reusable or certified compostable alternatives.
A 2019 IPSOS poll found that 69% of Australians supported a ban on single-use plastics. 94% of submissions about the new laws in QLD supported a ban.
The Queensland Government intends to add other plastic items such as coffee cups/lids, other plastic takeaway items and heavyweight plastic bags after further investigation.
The Commonwealth National Plastics Plan is a substantial effort with some new stand out actions, the Boomerang Alliance of 53 NGO said today.
“Significant new moves include the banning of polystyrene packaging around white goods by July 2022; microfibre filters on new washing machines; and joining the push for a global agreement to remove plastic pollution from the environment,’’ said Jeff Angel, Director of the Alliance.
“The Commonwealth also plans to ban polystyrene food and beverage containers by December 2022, ahead of most state schedules.’’
‘’The Boomerang Alliance welcomes support for a Plastic Free Beaches program based on our successful Plastic Free Places program which has already eliminated over 7 million plastic items through encouraging practice change in cafes. It’s a key transitional program accompanying state bans on single use items like straws, foodware and cups.’’
‘’With only 13% of plastic recycled, we dump most of the 2.5m tonnes used each year into landfill or the oceans. To ensure that 100% of packaging is reusable, compostable or recyclable by the 2025 target and achieve 50% recycled content in plastic packaging means government has to keep the pressure up on industry. Labels saying something is recyclable are meaningless if that does not happen in practice. We believe regulation will be necessary.’’
‘’Cigarette Butts are the most littered item in Australia. The announced taskforce has to find solutions, including a proposal to remove butts from cigarettes.’’
What we like
- The phase-out of polystyrene packaging, PVC packaging labels and non-certified (ie, to Australian standard) compostable packaging products in 2022. This includes polystyrene packaging to transport goods as well as takeaway food and beverage containers.
- Government support for a global agreement to curb plastic pollution. The government will also be working with Indonesia and Pacific countries to reduce plastic waste and litter.
- The phase-in of filters in new washing machines by 2030. These filters will remove microplastics washed out of clothing. Currently billions of microplastics get washed down the drain and end up in the ocean.
- A Government Taskforce to examine options to reduce cigarette butt litter and a possible product stewardship scheme. Our proposals include removing filter from cigarettes; more collection points as well as greater penalties and policing of butt litter.
- A national Plastic Free Beaches project. This expands the Boomerang Alliance’s Plastic Free Places program across Australia. The program to date has removed over 7 million single-use plastic items from use and works to assist business transition with ban laws.
- Consistent kerbside recycling services. There is too much variation between councils on their recycling services. This ranges from councils using coloured lids to differences in what can/cannot be put in the bin for recycling.
- The Australian Government will refer companies making false or misleading labeling and environmental claims such as misrepresentation of recyclability to the ACCC for investigation.
Note: the actions relating to phasing-out initially rely on voluntary action, but the Environment Minister will list them this year for product stewardship under legislation if the required date is not met.
What Needs More Work
- We support the target of 100% of packaging being either reusable, compostable or recyclable and 50% recycled content. However, these targets must be mandatory. So far government is relying on the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation which is under review this year.
A first step is to have all packaging labelled to identify if it is reusable, compostable or recyclable, with standards applied so that all packaging is actually recovered in practice and at scale. The problem is that there are no nationally recognised labels for either reusable or compostable packaging. As a result, we don't know if a package meets any certified standards. We don't even know how much reusable or compostable packaging is recovered.
On recycling, a new label the Australian Recycling label (ARL) has just been introduced. It is better than the previous label but is still just an instruction on how to dispose of the package. For soft plastics the ARL instructs on the use of the REDcycle service at supermarkets. Only a small percentage of the population use REDCycle, so most soft plastics go to landfill. WWF recently researched this issue and found that 80% of packaging marked as recyclable was, in practice, not being recycled.
Recycled content rules remain unclear with the government stating it has new procurement rules for the ‘’value proposition’’; and will rely on the Packaging Covenant to recruit businesses.
Without the Commonwealth mandating standards for packaging and requiring manufacturers to take more responsibility for their waste, they will never be achieved. It is still largely the case of leave the problem and the costs to the consumer, local government and the waste collectors.We see this as a companion document to State and Territory Government plastics policies. Together they are a step in the right direction.
Kellie Lindsay published Western Australian plastics plan released in Latest 2020-11-09 13:54:23 +1100
The Western Australian Government released its Plan for Plastics yesterday. The plan sets out the government's plastics reduction plans for the 2020-26 period. More immediate plans include the phase-out of identified single use plastics and other SUPs in the medium term (see below). A key identified initiative is a Plastic Free Places program to be introduced in 2021.
We will be talking with the State Government to confirm their intentions as soon as we can.
Key excerpts from Plan for Plastics;
" The Plan for Plastics will be delivered over the short (2020 to 2023) and medium-term (2024-2026) and will be complemented by voluntary approaches.
Short-term actions to be implemented from 2020 to 2023 include the phasing-out of plastic:
- thick plastic bags
- polystyrene food containers
- helium balloon releases"
"Medium-term actions to be introduced from 2024 to 26 include the phasing-out of plastic:
- barrier/produce bags
- polystyrene packaging
- cotton buds with plastic shafts; and
- oxo-degradable plastics (plastics designed to break up more rapidly into fragments under certain conditions)
The plan also includes actions on prepacked fruit and vegetables, takeaway food containers and plastic packaging."
Kellie Lindsay published QLD Election: All key political parties back single-use plastics ban in Latest 2020-10-29 14:09:08 +1100
In this Queensland election: Which party has the best policies on Plastics and Waste?When it comes to single-use plastics at least, the answer seems to be that everyone supports the proposed single-use plastics ban.
This last Term of Parliament has been significant, particularly for action to reduce plastic pollution. In 2017, the Queensland Parliament unanimously voted to introduce a lightweight plastic bag ban and establish a Container Refund Scheme for bottles and cans.
In this current parliamentary term both measures were introduced. To date, government data is showing that there has been a 70% reduction in plastic bag litter and a 54% reduction in container litter. Using your own bag when shopping is becoming the norm, whilst about 60% of beverage containers are now collected for recycling. Over 700 jobs have resulted from the Container Refund Scheme.
We still need to see a big improvement next year, as the CRS must increase the number of collection points to make it far more convenient for everyone, something very much required if a return rate of 85%+ by July 2022 is to be achieved.
However, Queensland has made a positive start on reducing litter and plastic waste. WWF in its recent assessment declared Queensland as the best performing state when it came to tackling the plastic problem. (WWF Plastic Scorecard 2020)There is still much to do so we asked the main political parties about their policies on plastics and key recycling issues. And a big Thank You to QCC for providing additional support for this endeavour.We particularly wanted to know if the parties supported:
What the three parties who responded have told us (in a nutshell):
- The proposed ban on certain single use plastics such as straws, cutlery, and plates and bowls, including expanded polystyrene items.
- Food and Organics Collection services in every local government area that had a kerbside service
- Investment in new recycling infrastructure and business in QLD, with the government establishing a new purchasing policy to encourage more recycling
Queensland Labor will deliver a bill to ban the supply of certain single-use plastics and undertake further consultation to include expanded polystyrene products. Labor will also develop an Organics Waste Strategy by June 2021. The Labor Government has invested $100M in a Resource Recovery Industry Development Program.
Liberal National Party
The Liberal National Party supports phasing-out single use plastics and resource recovery initiatives such as banning batteries and e-waste from landfill, a solar panel recycling facility and a Centre of Excellence for Resource Recovery in QLD
The Queensland Greens support the proposed bans on single-use plastics and will strengthen the bill. A review of waste levy exemptions will be carried out to expand the amount of waste subject to the levy. They support the introduction of FOGO collections in every LGA and strongly support the waste export ban and investment in resource recovery in Queensland. The Greens oppose waste-to-energy facilities for mixed waste and have actively supported Ipswich locals in their campaigns to have these proposals stopped.The Boomerang Alliance leaves it with you about which party you choose to support at this election. The good news is that all parties are backing legislation to ban problematic single-use plastics and all parties have recognised the value of a better resource recovery industry in Queensland.
Authorised by Toby Hutcheon, Campaign Manager, Boomerang Alliance, 99 Devonshire St, Surry Hills 2010
Kellie Lindsay published Qld introduces plastic ban into parliament in Latest 2020-07-15 18:18:02 +1000The Queensland Government today tabled legislation to ban plastic takeaway straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates and bowls. The legislation will now go to a Parliamentary Committee for review, and should be passed into law in the next few months.
Kellie Lindsay published We welcome Cafes reopening - but not more plastics in Latest 2020-05-15 01:04:35 +1000
Boomerang Alliance has welcomed the reopening of cafes and restaurants, as long as they are COVID-safe. We are concerned that reverting to single-use plastic food ware and cutlery is being promoted as one of the strategies for a COVID-safe food outlet.
It is not. It is not the utensils or food ware, that are the issue but their safe handling.
We have put out this media statement to counter the rumours and advice that single-use plastic food ware is a safer and better option.
Both Victorian Government advice (which is consistent with the advice all jurisdictions are giving) and the Australian Restaurant and Catering Association (Best Practice Cafe Guidelines COVID-19) support the continued use of a food outlet's standard, reusable foodware, not single use plastics, as the better option.
Whilst it is focused on takeaway practices, the Plastic Free Places Reusable Guide for cafes shows how simple handling changes make reusable food ware the safest option. Similar practice changes for in-house dining and food ware handling will avoid the need for single use plastics.
Using Your BYO coffee cup or container to your local cafe is quite safe
Just ask the cafe to follow these instructions.
Kellie Lindsay published VICTORIAN TRIAL SAVES OVER 25,000 PLASTIC ITEMS in Latest 2020-05-07 21:21:16 +1000
In October 2019, Glen Eira City Council in Victoria engaged The Boomerang Alliance to conduct a single-use plastic reduction trial as part of our Plastic Free Places program. The trial 'Plastic Free Elsternwick', recently finished up, and over the past 6 months, 18 participating businesses eliminated over 25,000 pieces of single-use plastic!
During the trial, participating businesses aimed to eliminate identified single-use plastic items such as coffee cups, takeaway containers and straws.
Boomerang Alliance staff spent a week in the community in early October working with each business, followed up by regular communication and visits to keep them on track and assist them as needed. Glen Eira City Council provided social media and media support, as well as incentives to encourage participation and behaviour change.
The trial was successful, with over 25,446 pieces of plastic eliminated during the six-month period (not including plastic bags due to the Victorian bag ban coming onto effect). This is only the start of the plastic savings the program will see over time.
Notable results include:
- Five businesses have eliminated plastic straws, 2 eliminated plastic cutlery, 3 eliminated plastic coffee cups & lids, 3 eliminated cups & lids, and 4 eliminated plastic takeaway containers and lids.
- One businesses started composting their food and packaging waste, and 3 businesses are using 'swap & go' reusable network 'Returnr.'
- Most businesses are displaying educational signage about the trial and signage to encourage their customers to reduce plastic use.
Find out more and see our outcomes report at www.plasticfreeplaces.org/elsternwick
Kellie Lindsay published SA Single-Use Plastic Ban Introduced to Parliament in Latest 2020-05-07 16:54:34 +1000
Today we welcome the tabling of South Australia's 'Single-use and Other Plastic Products (Waste Avoidance) Bill 2020', which prohibits the sale, supply and distribution of certain single-use plastic products and establishes a framework for adding other products in the future. Plastics currently included in the bill are straws, stirrers and cutlery as well as polystyrene cups, bowls and containers, and all oxo-biodegradable products.
‘Other states and territories can now follow the South Australian example. Both the ACT and Queensland plan similar legislation, and NSW are currently seeking public views on a plastics ban. Victoria is yet to move, ’ said Jeff Angel, Director of the Alliance.
‘Once again, South Australia is the first state or territory in Australia to act on a serious litter problem. We expect to see a noticeable reduction in plastic litter and waste and less plastic pollution of the ocean as a result.’
These banned items (along with coffee cups and lids, other cups and heavyweight plastic bags) are amongst the most littered items found in South Australia, and they all have a better alternative. ‘
Switching away from single use plastic takeaway is overwhelmingly supported in the community. A recent IPSOS International poll in 2019 (Throwaway World) found that 69% of Australians favoured a ban on single-use plastics, and as soon as possible.
'As our Plastic Free Places program is demonstrating, cafes and food outlets want to do the right thing and are able to switch away from these single use plastics. For instance, our analysis shows that simply removing straws from the counter reduces use by over 80%.’
The bill is available to download HERE
Kellie Lindsay published Guide to sustainable takeaway packaging options in Latest 2020-04-02 16:05:50 +1100
Dealing with COVID-19 Shut Down: How takeaway food and drink services can be plastic free
With the lockdown, many cafes are switching to takeaway and delivery services to stay in business.Boomerang Alliance's Plastic Free Places program has released two plastic-free takeaway guides for cafes and restaurants who are switching service in response to COVID 19. The guides shows how food outlets can avoid single use plastics, and what reusable and compostable packaging options are available.
Whilst the best option is to stick to reusable foodware, using 100% compostable packaging is a good alternative option.
Kellie Lindsay published Queensland Steps Up on Phase-out of Single-Use Plastics in Latest 2019-11-08 01:17:47 +1100
We welcome the announcement today (November 7, 2019) by the Queensland Government on a new Plastic Pollution Reduction Plan, which includes legislation next year (subject to consultation) to ban the supply of plastic products including plastic straws, cutlery, plates and stirrers, possibly extending to include coffee cups, plastic cups and heavy-weight shopping bags. The plan also includes further investment on plastic recovery and recycling.
Our Plastic Free Places Program features in the plan, with the Government proposing to partner with us to expand the program to further communities across Queensland, and to promote and deliver it nationally based on knowledge and experience gained in our pilot community Plastic Free Noosa.
This announcement comes ahead of the national Meeting of Environment Ministers (MEM) taking place on November 8 in Adelaide. Plastic reduction will be a hot topic on the agenda, with both South Australia and Queensland preparing legislation on single-use plastic take-aways. We hope other jurisdictions will follow suit!
Click here to access the full plan.
Our official Media Release can be found here.
Queensland Steps Up on Phase-out of Single-Use Plastics
The Boomerang Alliance today welcomed the Queensland Government’s Plastic Pollution Reduction Strategy which includes a proposed ban on single-use takeaway plastics. These are the takeaway plastic items commonly found littered in Queensland, including plastic straws, stirrers, plates, cutlery, coffee cups and heavyweight plastic bags.
‘Queensland, once one of the most littered states in Australia and is acting with determination to address its plastic pollution problems, building on the plastic bag ban and popular container deposit scheme.’ said Toby Hutcheon, QLD Manager of the Boomerang Alliance, which represents 49 community organisations concerned with waste and plastic pollution.
‘Now Queensland and South Australia are preparing legislation on single-use plastic take-aways - we encourage other jurisdictions to follow suit,’
‘With the national Meeting of Environment Ministers (MEM) taking place tomorrow (8 November) in Adelaide - there is a perfect opportunity for a joint attack on plastic pollution.’
The Queensland Government intends to introduce enabling legislation in 2020 (subject to a regulatory impact statement) to ban the supply of straws, stirrers, plates and cutlery and, following further analysis, coffee and other cups and heavyweight plastic bags.
‘Boomerang Alliance is calling on the government to ensure that the proposed ban on all these identified products is enacted in the next 12 months to avoid more plastic waste and more littering of the environment.’
‘Our Plastic Free Places program which helps cafes, markets, events and festivals transition to the preferred reusable or 100% compostable alternatives is proof these products are readily available and acceptable to consumers and business,’ said Hutcheon.
Queensland Government research shows that 7 out of 10 Queenslanders are taking steps to reduce their plastic use when away from home.
‘The public dislike excessive plastic packaging and plastic litter. They are looking for solutions. This Queensland Government ban, supported by the food and hospitality sector, will make the difference the public are looking for.’
‘Single-use takeaway plastic items are the second most common litter type after cigarette butts. The latest Clean Up Australia Rubbish report for Queensland found that 36% of litter collected was takeaway packaging.
The Plastic Free Places program, with funding support from the Queensland Government, is demonstrating that the hospitality sector wants to do the right thing and be part of the solution to plastic waste and litter.
The Plastic Free Noosa project, one of five current projects operating in Australia, has over 200 member businesses and has eliminated or replaced over 3 million single use plastic items. This includes over 1 million straws, 280,000 coffee cups, over 750,000 containers and cups and 260,000 pieces of plastic cutlery. All this in one place in under 18 months.
The Plastic Free Places program will be expanded into Townsville and Cairns in 2020.
The Boomerang Alliance, in partnership with the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) plans to expand the program across Australia and make it accessible to all interested communities.
Kellie Lindsay published OUR NEW WA PLASTIC FREE PROJECT LAUNCHES IN TOWN OF BASSENDEAN, PERTH in Latest 2019-03-07 23:21:02 +1100
It’s official! The Town of Bassendean in Perth is going plastic free, after the public launch of Boomerang Alliance’s Plastic Free Places program this week under the banner WA Plastic Free.
Bassendean’s revitalised Old Perth Road precinct was abuzz as local business owners gathered at O2Café to learn more about the project and how they can get involved. The program works with local food retailers, markets and events to eliminate single-use plastic and, appropriately, the whole thing got underway at O2, Bassendean’s first café to be declared a ‘Plastic-Free Champion.’
WA Plastic Free makes Bassendean WA’s first community under the Plastic Free Places program to make the shift away from single-use plastics, under the guidance of the Boomerang Alliance and with funding support by the WA Waste Authority. The program’s pilot community Noosa, in Queensland, eliminated more than 2 million pieces of single-use plastic in its first year.
WA Plastic Free Project Coordinator Amy Matheson said ‘‘Our project aims to eliminate or replace key plastic items that are commonly found in the litter stream - water bottles, straws, coffee/cups & lids, takeaway containers, foodware (cutlery, cups, plates) and plastic bags” Ms Matheson explained. “All of these items have readily available reusable or compostable alternatives. It’s our job to work with businesses and events, show them the alternatives and help them to make the switch. Once they’ve removed those key items, we declare them ‘Plastic Free Champions’ and they can enjoy all the benefits that come with that”.
After much work behind the scenes at the end of 2018, the project is in full swing and will continue to expand over the coming months. Currently, the program is centred in Bassendean, with the hope of expanding into other surrounding areas.
“The Plastic Free Places program is really unique,”said Jayne Paramor, Deputy Director of the Boomerang Alliance. “We do a lot of work behind-the-scenes to make it easy for businesses to make the switch. We work with Council, suppliers, manufacturers, composters and waste transport operators to deliver effective solutions. Bassendean is the fourth community we are working with and we look forward to achieving some exciting results.”
To find out more, head to the website www.waplasticfree.org
Nerang Community Association Inc endorsed 2015-11-25 16:33:28 +1100
Be a part of a broad and diverse coalition fighting for Cash for Containers around Australia.
Hundreds of community groups, charities and non-profit organisations around Australia have already added their name to the Cash for Containers campaign. Sign on today to endorse the Cash for Containers campaign and help make Australia litter free.
Whether you're a local neighbourhood group, major environmental NGO, student organisation, small business or something else, we'd love to have your support.
We support Boomerang Alliance's Cash for Containers model.
A 10-cent refundable container deposit system will slash the amount of litter polluting our parks, streets, rivers and ocean. It will create new jobs in recycling and provide valuable sources of income for charities, community groups and individuals interested in collecting cans and bottles.
Our Cash for Containers model is based on the best examples in the world and has big benefits for the entire community, economy and environment. Read more about our model here and the benefits for your organisation here.
If your organisation is on board, add your name today.Endorse
In July 2017 Environment Ministers are meeting to discuss what to do about plastic bags.
Tasmania, the ACT, The Northern Territory and South Australia have already banned single use plastic bags and Queensland is introducing a ban in July 2018.
We're making sure when they meet that the NSW, Victorian and WA Ministers know there is huge community support for taking action on plastic bags. We've joined with 49 community and environment groups, representing thousands of members, to write an open letter demanding greater action. Add your name to the open letter today to let the ministers know you support a ban on plastic bags.
There is increasing evidence that even though a small percentage of bags are littered and then broken up into smaller and smaller pieces – they have a devastating impact on the environment. This includes so called ‘biodegradable’ bags, which are just as dangerous in the marine environment.
With the CSIRO Marine Debris Report 2014 estimating there are over 124 billion individual pieces of visible plastic littering the Australian coastline – and a large legacy of plastic from previous years becoming microplastic – action needs to be taken on multiple fronts.
Plastic pollution is a major threat to wildlife. Globally it is estimated that 1 million sea birds and over 100,000 mammals die every year as a result of plastic ingestion or entanglement. Of great concern are the secondary microplastics derived from broken up bags and bottles.
We estimate that some 180 million bags enter the Australian environment every year.
Thanks to our partners who joined the open letter.1,541 add your names
Environment ministers have been discussing the issue of removing plastic bags from the litter stream and marine environment for long enough.
Every Australian wants our stunning rivers, oceans and waterways to have a clean and healthy future. Plastic pollution infests waterways, clogging them with plastic bags, packaging and microbeads. In Australia, the CSIRO Marine Debris Report 2014 estimated there are over 124 billion individual pieces of visible plastic littering the Australian coastline.
The tripartisan 2016 Senate Inquiry into Marine Plastic Pollution urged Australian state and federal governments to ban plastic bags and microbeads as a matter of urgency.
Tasmania, the ACT, the Northern Territory and South Australia have already banned single use plastic bags and can improve their legislation to include 'so-called biodegradable' bags which are just as big a problem in the marine environment as conventional plastic bags.
We are calling on Environment Ministers in NSW, Victoria and Western Australia to catch up and take immediate action by banning single use plastic bags (including so-called biodegradable bags).
Plastic pollution is lethal. We need strong action now.