Boomerang Alliance Newsletter - September 2018

September 2018

It's been a busy quarter for Boomerang Alliance, as we move towards the end of a year that has heralded such enormous change around our favourite subject – plastic pollution! The momentum continues unabated, and as always, we have been at the vanguard of the movement, bringing an independent and informed voice to a diverse range of fora.

Much discussion has been seen in the wake of China's ban on plastic imports, which continues to bite across Australia. State and federal governments are seeking answers to address the crisis and among other initiatives, Boomerang Alliance was invited to take part in a series of consultation workshops in July, conducted by the University of Technology Sydney's Institute of Sustainable Futures, on behalf of the NSW Environment Protection Authority.

September also saw the launch of the Federal Government's expanded targets to reduce plastic packaging, accompanied by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation's (APCO) Australasian Recycling Label and the corresponding PREP Packaging Design tool.  While we welcome these steps, questions arise around whether there is sufficient ambition to achieve the desired outcomes.  (For more detail, check out our Latest News story)

We always welcome the opportunity to participate in and contribute to these discussions, and we see our role evolving to one of greater collaboration in finding the right solutions, now that the world is finally coming around to our way of thinking. There are plenty of 'traps for young players' along the way, but our long history of dealing with these issues means we are ideally placed to support those embarking on the path and seeking to achieve genuinely positive outcomes and we look forward to sharing our knowledge across an increasingly engaged stakeholder audience.

While the pace remains relatively slow, there are encouraging signs across the spectrum, but we can't take our eyes off the prize. Community mobilisation and campaigning remain the core of our activities and with the help of our loyal supporters, Boomerang Alliance will continue to drive ambitious objectives, call for robust policy measures to improve our resource efficiency and above all, ensure that our environment receives the consideration it deserves.

Jayne Paramor - Deputy Director of Boomerang Alliance



Our Facebook photo competition SnapBack, encouraging our supporters and environmentally conscious consumers to name and shame retailers and producers for unnecessary plastic packaging, was a huge success and resulted in a highly publicised feature in Guardian Australia.


After the success of Snap Back photo competition, BA's plastic packaging campaign continued apace in July with a hugely successful breakfast forum, 'The Future of Plastic Packaging – Driving Change for Consumer Packaged Goods'.


BA's Communities Taking Control scheme has made significant strides over the winter months. Plastic Free Noosa has recruited a further 80 business members for a total of 140 establishments reducing their plastic footprint, while Plastic Free Wollongong has joined forces with music festivals and clean up events to target plastic consumption.


In anticipation of the QLD container refund scheme launch date on Nov 1, Boomerang Alliance hosted a series of forums across the state to introduce COEX who will run the scheme.


June and July saw something of a 'comedy of errors' emerge around the implementation of retailer plastic bag bans, highlighting that in those states without the benefit of legislated bans, the whims of consumers and retailers can easily result in some environmentally unsound decision making.  


In Victoria, our focus is building momentum for CDS. Our current aim is to get the major parties to include CDS in their policies prior to the November election.



At the end of April, Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg announced 'all packaging would be recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025'. And while considered an ambitious target by some, Natures Organics CEO Justin Dowel regards the push as farcical!

'It is a joke, to be honest,' he declared. 'Why are talking about 'recyclable?' Most plastics are recyclable! The problem is, we're not recycling most of the plastic. What we need to be doing is setting targets for recycled plastic, not recyclable. There's no point recycling if we have no use for recycled.

BA spoke with Justin Dowel about his family-owned enterprise, manufacturing environmentally sound cosmetic and cleaning brands including Australian Pure, Organic Care and Earth Choice.


Hitting the beach with his two year-old son Banjo, NSW Greens MP Justin Field had a horrifying realization. 'I grew up on the beach picking up shells,' he recalls, 'but my son, he picks up plastic. And that is the difference in one generation.'

The Greens NSW member for legislative council, Justin is the spokesperson for fair trade finance, small business, trade, treasury and sport. But ultimately, his passion resides in the health of the marine environment. Taking a square aim at the laughable Berejiklian environmental platform while also lambasting 'disappointing' Malcolm Turnbull, Justin gave his take on Labour's eco promises and the Green's ever-growing parliamentary influence.


Norway is often billed as a guiding light in the international war on plastic waste.

With their container deposit scheme frequently reported as ‘the best in the world’, thanks to an often quoted 97 per cent recycling rate (based on 598, 355, 791 bottles and containers recycled in 2016*) the international community is training their focus on the Scandinavian nation in an attempt to replicate this success.

BA spoke to Atle Hamar, State Secretary for the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment to learn if we can learn something from the land of the midnight sun and the birthplace of TOMRA reverse vending technology


CTC is Coming to WA

After the success of pilot programmes in Noosa, Byron Bay and Wollongong, Boomerang Allliance is bringing our Communities Taking Control across the country to WA

BA vs Thicker Plastic Bags

After the Coles fiasco, legislation surrounding thicker plastic bags (up to 70 microns thick) is more important than ever.

CDS Vic Goes to the Polls

In the run-up to the next Victorian state election in November, Boomerang Alliance is focusing our attentions on getting CDS included on all party agendas.

Words: Stephen Milton      Design: Rianti Bieler
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.