Boomerang Alliance published Send a letter to the editor on plastic bags in Ban plastic bags 2017-03-21 14:33:27 +1100
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.
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!
Boomerang Alliance published Queensland Container Refund Scheme in Cash For Containers 2017-03-07 23:47:08 +1100
The conservative Qld government had rejected container deposits and the community campaign for many years and was a key proponent of the weak alternatives proposed by the beverage companies such as Coke and Lion. The surprise election of an ALP government in 2015 with a policy to implement the scheme was the turning point.
On September 5th 2017, we welcomed the unanimous passage of the Waste Reduction and Recycling Amendment Bill through the Queensland Parliament, which confirmed a Container Refund Scheme (CRS).
This policy represents 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.
The Queensland Scheme is called 'Containers for Change' and is operated by Container Exchange, a not-for-profit entity set up by the beverage industry. You can learn more about how the scheme works, find where you can redeem containers and which containers are eligible, and how you can get involved at the Containers for Change website.
The scheme has had some problems with sufficient effective refund points for consumers and the return rate is languishing around 60% - failing to meet its 2022 target of 85%. Boomerang and TEC issued a Health Report in 2020 and will be reviewing the scheme again in 2022.
Victoria has now committed to a Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) to start by 2023. It needs to be the best scheme maximising recycling; with great convenience for consumers who want to redeem their 10cents; and a credible governance system.
The Boomerang Alliance has joined forces with Victorian community organisations and groups to push for action. The Victorian government originally was defending inaction on CDS with questionable statistics on litter and recycling rates. We took actions to dispel myths, raise awareness and presented the true cost of inaction.
NSWs 'Earn and Return' has collected over 5 billion containers in 36 months and increased recycling rates from 35% to over 70% under its ''split responsibility'' model with the independent Coordinator and Network Operator. This is supported by the Victorian government for the state's CDS.
QLDs 'Containers For Change' which operates under the system favoured by Coca Cola has significant problems with inconvenient refund points; alleged fraud; and lower recycling rates. Nevertheless, Coke and Lion have embarked on a campaign to reverse the government's position because they can make a profit from a poorly performing CDS by keeping consumer refunds.
NOW we need to win the battle for a CDS that works best for consumers and recycling.
SO, WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Sign this letter to Lily D'Ambrosio thanking her for the CDS and maintaining her government's support for the BEST system.
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, the Northern Territory, the ACT, NSW and Queensland. WA, Tasmania and Vic are planning to follow suit in 2020, 2022 and 2023, respectively.7,756 signatures
Dear Ms D'Ambrosio,
Thank you for supporting the introduction of a 10 cents refundable deposit on drink bottles and cans in VICTORIA under the split responsibility model.
Victoria is now the LAST state to commit to a container deposit scheme (CDS) but can learn the lessons from other Australian states - and have the best CDS. As your research has shown, the NSW split responsibility model works best and Victoria can adopt its key features for the environment, jobs, convenient access for refunds and charities.
We support you rejecting the weak approach proposed by the big beverage companies, Coke and Lion.
A best practice CDS can help with the recycling crisis, as it produces reliable streams of sorted, uncontaminated materials that are of higher value and can underpin a local recycling industry.
Please keep me in touch with your work on scheme design.
Boomerang Alliance published QLD Cash for Containers Scheme a Step Closer in Cash For Containers 2017-02-20 11:12:16 +1100
Boomerang Alliance published Queensland LNP’s Support for Plastic Bag Ban – ‘major step’ in Plastic Pollution 2016-11-22 12:47:40 +1100
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!
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.
They’re tiny plastic microspheres measuring approximately the same size as a single human hair. So how does a pollutant barely visible to the naked eye present the greatest direct threat to the eco-welfare of oceans and marine wildlife?
Microbeads at 50 times zoom
Added to an enormous range of personal care [body wash, toothpaste, face scrub] and household cleaning products [detergents, waxes, and polishes], microbeads are used as the go-to artificial exfoliant, a durable substitute for previously used natural abrasive materials like sea salt, ground pumice and oatmeal.
Plus they’re also used in health science research, microscopy techniques, fluid visualization and fluid flow analysis, and process troubleshooting.
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.
Making them virtually impossible to prevent washing down the plughole, through filtration systems in waste water treatment plants and facilities and passing freely into our waterways, coastline and oceans.
Like all plastics, micro and nano scale plastics have significant potential to act as a toxic sponge – sucking up organic pollutants and heavy metals to become a major vector for distributing toxic materials across the environment and importantly into our food chain. Which is why micro and nanoplastics are seen to be a more direct threat than plastics generally as they are easily mistaken for fish eggs, zooplankton and other sources of marine food, creating significant potential to pass through the food chain and onto our dinner plates.
Which is why microscopic plastic poses not only a catastrophic threat to ocean health - but to ours as well.
While virtually impossible to measure accurately the extent of the problem in Australian waters, 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.
Based on their pervasiveness and size, microbeads are near impossible to remove from the natural environment, especially water.
As a result of high profile campaigns across the globe, nations including the US, UK, Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, Holland, Sweden, Taiwan and New Zealand have or plan to introduce various legislation prohibiting the manufacture and distribution of microbeads. Australia is yet to implement any such federal or state measure leaving us vulnerable to potentially becoming a dumping ground for surplus products.
In December 2015, former Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt announced that state and territory governments had agreed to a voluntary phase-out of microbeads in cosmetics by July 1, 2018. In January 2016, Coles and Woolworth’s both announced 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.
To date, 93 per cent of companies distributing and manufacturing in Australia have complied with the phase out. Leaving the remaining 7 per cent failing to move on the environmental issue and continue to pump microbeads into the biosphere.
A federal ban is the only way to safeguard Australian waters
While useful results have been achieved by the industry voluntary-microbeads plan, it leaves a loophole for continued use of plastic microbead product on the Australian market by those who have failed to participate in the voluntary phase out or through a future reversal of thephase out by manufacturers; including the prospect of dumping by producers locked out of other markets by legislated bans. Australia must have a nationally legislated ban on plastic microbeads including so-calledbiodegradeable plastic microbeads.
Boomerang Alliance wants to volunteer 2016-10-21 10:54:36 +1100
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
Boomerang Alliance commented on APC Recycling Black Hole 2015-07-09 14:10:26 +1000We 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.
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
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.
Address (including postcode)
To print this letter, click here.
The Hon Steven Miles, MP
Minister for the Environment
GPO Box 2454
BRISBANE QLD 4001
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.
Address, including postcode:
To print this letter, click here.
Boomerang Alliance published Read our new report on Queensland’s Plastic Pollution Crisis in Latest News 2015-06-26 13:04:40 +1000
Did you know that the era of the disposable product has come at a huge price?
For many decades used products and materials were just dumped on land and in the ocean, and some were burnt. It was only after significant community concern began to make clean air and water, and then recycling a priority, that landfilling became unpopular and incinerators were shut. And as our standard of living increased and we consumed more things, we began to waste an enormous amount of resources as well as the energy used to mine and manufacture them. To know more, check out the “History of Waste” at WasteNot.
Today every Australian produces about 2 tonnes of waste a year (from our total economic activity) including packaging, food, construction, manufacturing. Only about half is recycled. Which means the rest ends up wasted, and contaminating the environment.
Yet some governments want to build more landfills. Queensland for example has seen imports of waste from NSW to its landfills. It is cheaper for the waste generators and collectors to send it there than recycle it. This is appalling.
We want all states to take action to massively reduce this wasteful dumping. Recently Asian countries have rejected our waste exports as being too contaminated for recycling and causing pollution. Australia will be banning such exports in coming years. We are campaigning for more investment in reuse and recycling in Australia, and to encourage corporate and government preference for recycled products. Mandatory product stewardship for packaging will be important - with redesign of packaging so it is recyclable and high targets for recycled content.
We want some items like e-waste banned from going into landfill. And we believe high landfill levies imposed at the dump gate will make sure landfilling cannot out-compete recycling.
Naturally recycling costs more as the waste has to be separated, necessitating new and expensive technology. Then it has to be reused to make new products. But the environmental, employment and resource conservation benefits are well worth it.
Incineration making a comeback?
A new threat to recycling is on the horizon however, and it’s called “waste to energy”. It is not recycling, just a one-off energy supplement. Nor is it part of the 'çircular economy'. PET plastic can be recycled indefinitely, but it can only be used for energy once. While the old incinerator technology with its gross air pollution is no longer allowed, major companies are now pushing for ‘modern’ waste to energy plants. They may have better emission controls, but the use of mixed and contaminated municipal waste means there is a real risk of toxic pollution spikes affecting local communities.
Another very concerning issue is that these facilities require long term waste contracts and as a result they lock in poor recycling practices to obtain their resource. These contracts will prevent improved resource recovery in the future. Unfortunately the City of Sydney Council is embracing this approach (ironic given its good environmental and sustainability record), and recently a massive plan to burn 500,000 to one million tonnes of ‘waste’ a year has been proposed for the Sydney metropolitan region. Waste to energy plants have also opened in Western Australia, and industry is pushing for installations across Australia.
It is not waste. It is a resource!
Did you know that tens of millions of items of electronic waste, from laptops, to old monitors and TVs and smaller products – are dumped into landfill every year? They contain highly toxic materials as well as rare precious metals. Many other countries have had e-waste recycling schemes for years, but Australia lagged behind with a paltry 17% recycling rate for TVs and computers and much less for other items in 2012. It was just not good enough.
Computer monitors, for example, have lead in their cathode ray tubes, cadmium in their batteries, mercury in the back‐lamps for their LCD screens and beryllium in switches, motherboards and electrical conductors. Mobile phones have nickel in their springs and electrical contacts, flame retardant antimony as an alloying agent, and arsenic in their microelectronics. These critical elements are highly polluting in landfills where they come into contact with soil, air and water.
Quite rightly many people believe we should be recycling our used electronic items and not discarding them. Total Environment Centre and other members of the Boomerang Alliance ran a campaign for over seven years which resulted in the introduction of a new national scheme in 2012. The product stewardship scheme requires all producers or importers of TVs and computers to fund and meet ever increasing recycling targets.
The starting target was 30% - not very impressive in view of the avalanche of e-waste! It will gradually rise to 80% in 2030. While welcoming a legally enforceable scheme and the establishment of drop-off centres across the country, we are continuing to campaign for a much better outcome.
The federal government reviewed the scheme in 2015 and has now announced the targets will be increased to 50% (and rising), instead of 37% from 2016 , but it will still be many years before 80%, let alone 100% is achieved. A ban on e-waste to landfill will hurry them up. South Australia, the ACT and Victoria have instituted bans - check out the Vic policy assessment here.
The government and the industry also expect that local councils will pick up the slack in the interim. This means that ratepayers will pay, instead of the industry. This is not a good example of extended producer responsibility! We also need to bring other hand held electronic items and batteries into the program. A new group - EWaste Watch is also active.