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.
Boomerang Alliance's pilot Communities Taking Control project was launched to reduce the single-use plastic footprint and achieve wide scale change within the entire community. And celebrating one year in operation, pilot programmes, Plastic Free Noosa (PFN) and Plastic Free Wollongong (PFW) continue to surpass their ambitious goals.
Focusing on the elimination of key single-use items: plastic water bottles, straws, coffee/cups & lids, takeaway containers, foodware (cutlery, cups, plates etc) and plastic bags, both are making impressive progress and impact, individually and collectively, through direct engagement with businesses, events, markets and other organisations to assist in the switch from single-use plastics to better alternatives.
Adding 80 establishments over the winter months, PFN has now recruited over 140 food and drink establishments pledging to reduce their single-plastic use. And notably, 25 of these have fully eliminated their plastic consumption and been crowned 'Plastic Free Champions'.
Based on current data, estimates suggest we have avoided 310 000 items of plastic items from being used by our member cafes and restaurants in the period 1st February - 31st July (6 months), with these items being eliminated through replacement by reusable or compostable items and through reduction of use. This figure includes 220,000 straws but excludes plastic bags due to the ban coming into effect.
Noosa has also been closely working with some big events and markets; Noosa Triathlon 5-day Festival (8000 participants) Eumundi Markets (1.5 million visitors per year) and the Noosa Food and Wine Festival (over 10 000 people attendance), successfully converting the majority of food stalls to plastic free.
At the Food and Wine festival this year, an added result was that 480 kg of compostable material, largely made up of food packaging, was composted, saving a significant amount of packaging that would have gone to landfill. We will be replicating this model at other events over the next year.
Plastic Free Noosa manager Kellie Lindsay said: 'We work to deliver real solutions to businesses. It isn't enough to just ask them to remove plastic - what their barriers to transition are, how they create a viable business model, what products they change to, where they can get them and where that product ends up, is important as well. We address all these things'.
Meanwhile, down south in Wollongong, focus has been trained on high traffic, public events to spread the plastic free message with great success and September has been a big month for PFW.
After partnering with the Yours and Owls festival, one of the largest music events in the area organisers have announced the extravaganza will now be plastic free.
Single use plastic water bottles, straws, cutlery, and takeaway food containers will be replaced with compostable and reusable alternatives across the two-day event. The move will replace over 15,000 single use items across the two days.
Earlier this month to mark World Clean Up Day, Plastic Free Wollongong joined forces with Surfrider Foundation and various environment groups to coordinate the biggest clean up the city has ever seen.
200 people from the Illawarra community spent their Saturday morning helping make Wollongong's public spaces even more beautiful and in just over an hour, an astounding 246 kilograms of waste were removed from waterways, parks and coastline.
BA's Communities Taking Control has recently implemented the system in Byron Shire and are following with a community in Western Australia later in the year. We are looking to expand the program…could your community be next?