What a year for plastic pollution!

A lot has been happening on the plastic pollution front.

Bans on single-use plastics (SUPs like foodware, stirrers, straws, plates and bowls) have been implemented in South Australia, ACT and Queensland; are coming soon to Western Australia and Victoria; and became law in NSW just a month ago. We now have the National Plastics Plan and various state plans; and the Federal government is taking a lead in our region by calling for a binding Global Plastics Treaty that covers the whole life cycle of plastics, not just the plastic that ends up in the oceans. Our next targets are the second tranche of SUPs to ban and to eliminate excess packaging.


The NSW Plastics Action Plan was released in June 2021 with the claim:

"The proposed actions will allow NSW to become a leader in managing plastics; eliminating harmful plastics, cleaning up plastic pollution and using our knowledge to get the most value out of our plastic resources."

To achieve these outcomes the NSW Government says it will take action to:

  • introduce new legislation to reduce harmful plastics
  • accelerate the transition to better plastic products
  • support innovation
  • tackle cigarette butt litter

Under the NSW Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 2041: Stage 1 -2021-2027, NSW has adopted several other relevant targets, including to:

  • phase out problematic and unnecessary plastics by 2025
  • reduce the total waste generated by 10% per person by 2030
  • achieve an average 80% recovery rate of resources from all waste streams by 2030
  • significantly increase the use of recycled content by government and industry
  • reduce plastic litter items by 30% by 2025
  • reduce the overall litter by 60% by 2030
  • triple the plastics recycling rate by 2030
  • mandate FOGO by 2030.

Given that NSW was falling behind its own previous targets, it has a big job ahead to begin to embrace a circular economy.  The same can be said for all the other states. While they may pass legislation with ''circular economy'' in the title - the real work will involve getting the EPA bureaucracies fully focussed; adequate funding for new reprocessing and recovery facilities; mandatory recycled content requirements; and a wide range of product stewardship programs funded by industry.   


Lyrics by Lisa Wriley. Vocalist: Peter Hayward

On the eleventh day of Christmas,

my "take-away" sent to me
Eleven cranky Councils
Ten polluted beaches,
Nine full up landfills,
Eight littered roadsides,
Seven choking birds,
Six coffee cups,
Five…. single use plastics,
Four plastic straws,
Three plastic bags,
Two spoons & forks,
And a sushi sauce fish floating out to sea.

On the twelfth day of Christmas,
my re-usables sent to me
Twelve months Plastic Free
Eleven Council pledges
Ten clean beaches,
Nine healthy rivers,
Eight sparkling roadsides,
Seven happy birds,
Six real coffees,
Five… re-usable items,
Four metal straws,
Three cloth bags,
Two bamboo utensils,
And marine creatures thriving in the sea.

You can still take action by delivering Good SUP, Bad SUP postcards to local cafes and takeaway shops - to either express your gratitude for them switching from single-use plastics to better alternatives, or encourage them with a Be the Change card to make the switch. You can order the cards for a small donation, from the Boomerang Alliance shop.


Back to December 2021 Newsletter page >>