Boomerang Alliance Newsletter - December 2020

December 2020

In a year dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the consequences was the alarming rise in the use of single-use plastic products. Some for very good health and safety reasons, and some as a result of panic and misconceptions that somehow single-use plastic packaging was safer against the spread of the virus. There is no evidence that this is the case.

The American Journal of Science reported that the pandemic led to over 139 billion face masks and 61 billion plastic gloves being used (to Sept 2020). Of great concern was that non-medical plastic waste had increased by over 30%. It was something we directly witnessed as many cafes switched to takeaway services only and stopped accepting BYO cups. Now, according to UN reports (UNCTAD July 2020) historically that means at least 75% of that plastic will go directly to tips, landfills or into the sea. 2020 is set to be a disaster for marine plastic pollution and waste.

What all this exposes is that we are simply unprepared to deal with the plastic pollution problem that is being continually generated. The lesson has to be learnt that we must eliminate where we can any single use plastics, and where it does serve a purpose, manage it so that it is not wasted or littered.

In Australia, amidst all this bad news, there is some cause for optimism for the future.

National Action
The Commonwealth Government introduced a Recycling and Waste Bill that banned the export of glass, mixed plastics, used tyres and paper and cardboard. These discarded products were being exported for so-called and questionable ‘recycling’ overseas. These products will now have to be recycled domestically, a far better option.

A National Waste Plan with the states and territories is now in place with non-mandatory targets to increase recycled content in new products, halve waste going to landfill and phase-out problematic and unnecessary plastics by 2025.

Plastic Bans
At a state level, South Australia has passed legislation to ban certain takeaway plastic items with Queensland, the ACT and Western Australia set to follow in 2021. We are now waiting on NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and the NT to catch up. (See campaign updates below for more detailed information)

Victoria and Tasmania look set to introduce container deposit schemes for bottles and cans in 2022/3, something that will mean Australia will become the first continent to have a container refund available to every citizen.

So, as we write, the stage is now set for some significant changes in 2021. We know that COVID-safe is an essential message for all of us. We want to make plastic-free an equally important outcome.


The Boomerang Alliance Zero Plastic Pollution campaign will be taking off in 2021. Its key goals are:

  • To have an Australian Product Stewardship scheme for Packaging, including labelling that means if its marked reusable, compostable or recyclable it will be reused, composted or recycled, in practice.
  • Ensure all our governments are reducing wastes, increasing recycling and phasing-out problem single use plastics in 2021.
  • To Cut the Wrap making all retailers get rid of unnecessary and problem plastic packaging.
  • To promote the switch to reusable products starting with takeaway, retail, events and places of work.
  • To bring a culture of Plastic Free Places to every community.

See our website for further details

Please support this essential Zero Plastic Pollution campaign by making a tax-deductible donation.



Our objective is to have all states implement bans on single use items in 2021. Find out which state has passed its plastic legislation and which ones are lagging behind!


Working in communities to eliminate single-use takeaway plastic at the source, our program is active in 5 communities across Australia (Adelaide, Byron, Perth, Cairns & Townsville), and has eliminated over 6 million pieces of single-use plastic!


After many years of pressure to stop the exports of collected waste materials to nations in Asia, the Commonwealth Government has passed a law stopping the practice.


As the last mainland state in Australia to introduce a container deposit scheme (CDS), Victoria has an opportunity to make a real difference. Its CDS could be the most efficient, effective & ethical in the country - but only if it's designed right.


Three states (SA, Qld, WA) and the ACT are moving on plastic pollution with legislation – while NSW is on the slow track. It has not targeted takeaway plastics like foodware, nor put plans in place to address single use plastics from various retail, business, agriculture and marine sectors.


Many supporters contact Boomerang Alliance at this time of year seeking green ideas for Christmas. This year we have put our focus on gifts that can help you, your family and friends go plastic-free.


After a great deal of initial advice to cafes to refuse BYO cups from their customers, Boomerang Alliance campaigned to change this backward step. Thanks to considerable backing from our supporters, the general public and latterly from the Restaurant and Catering Association we were able to restore some sanity. Most jurisdictions in Australia (except Queensland) have confirmed that the use of BYO cups is allowed, particularly through a contactless pour arrangement.

One positive outcome of this has been a greater understanding and appreciation of reusable practices. More and more people-and let’s make this common place-are getting into the habit of using their own cup for tea or coffee at their local café.

We plan and encourage everyone to extend that practice to other takeaway products such as takeaway food containers. Reusable drinks and food networks are gaining more and more interest now. These usually work by providing returnable containers that can be used at any of a network of cafes or food outlets. Check out Green Caffeen or Returnr.



With recognition that marine plastic pollution is a global problem, a number of nations are now pushing for an International Treaty to address marine plastics. To date more than two thirds of UN member nations have indicated support for such a treaty.

We are unaware about the Australian Government position, although given the statements by the Prime Minister at the UN and more recently at the G20 meeting, we assume Australia will support a treaty. A better option would be for Australia to take a lead and co-sponsor an international marine plastics treaty.



The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation is developing an ANZUS (Australia, NZ and Pacific) Plastic Pact. The Pact is part of a new global program initiated by the Ellen Macarthur Foundation. it aims to have 70% of all plastic packaging either composted or recycled by 2025. APCO hope to have all their packaging manufacturer members join up.

Boomerang Alliance has provided our advice to APCO and we are now working to pressure key stakeholders to achieve this outcome

We would not have been able to do all these works without our supporters. Please donate so we can continue our fight against plastic pollution.