It’s official! The Town of Bassendean in Perth is going plastic free, after the public launch of Boomerang Alliance’s Plastic Free Places program this week under the banner WA Plastic Free.
Bassendean’s revitalised Old Perth Road precinct was abuzz as local business owners gathered at O2Café to learn more about the project and how they can get involved. The program works with local food retailers, markets and events to eliminate single-use plastic and, appropriately, the whole thing got underway at O2, Bassendean’s first café to be declared a ‘Plastic-Free Champion.’
WA Plastic Free makes Bassendean WA’s first community under the Plastic Free Places program to make the shift away from single-use plastics, under the guidance of the Boomerang Alliance and with funding support by the WA Waste Authority. The program’s pilot community Noosa, in Queensland, eliminated more than 2 million pieces of single-use plastic in its first year.
WA Plastic Free Project Coordinator Amy Matheson said ‘‘Our project aims to eliminate or replace key plastic items that are commonly found in the litter stream - water bottles, straws, coffee/cups & lids, takeaway containers, foodware (cutlery, cups, plates) and plastic bags” Ms Matheson explained. “All of these items have readily available reusable or compostable alternatives. It’s our job to work with businesses and events, show them the alternatives and help them to make the switch. Once they’ve removed those key items, we declare them ‘Plastic Free Champions’ and they can enjoy all the benefits that come with that”.
After much work behind the scenes at the end of 2018, the project is in full swing and will continue to expand over the coming months. Currently, the program is centred in Bassendean, with the hope of expanding into other surrounding areas.
“The Plastic Free Places program is really unique,”said Jayne Paramor, Deputy Director of the Boomerang Alliance. “We do a lot of work behind-the-scenes to make it easy for businesses to make the switch. We work with Council, suppliers, manufacturers, composters and waste transport operators to deliver effective solutions. Bassendean is the fourth community we are working with and we look forward to achieving some exciting results.”
To find out more, head to the website www.waplasticfree.org
The growing rush to incinerate recyclable materials in response to the current loss of export markets, is entirely the wrong way to go, the Boomerang Alliance of 47 national, state and local groups said today.Read more
Next Friday 27 April 2018, our State and Federal Environment Ministers will meet to discuss crucial issues, including the introduction of a nationwide ban on microbeads.
From personal care to dental hygiene to household cleaning, microbeads are used in an enormous range of products. They slip through our inadequate waste water filtration infrastructure and end up in the ocean. Once there, they act as a sponge for water-borne toxins and are easily mistaken as a food source by unwitting marine life, potentially adding toxins directly to the human food chain.
What’s more, without a national ban, surplus products containing microbeads that have been rejected by other countries could easily make their way to Australia, as manufacturers try to cut their losses. We can’t afford to let Australia become a potential dumping ground for these billions of pieces of microplastic.
Right now, the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, France, Sweden, Taiwan, Italy, Ireland and the Netherlands have or will soon introduce bans on microbeads. Australia has no plans to do the same.
Instead the Commonwealth Government is relying on a voluntary phase out but only a national ban will eliminate the problem once and for all.
We need to put the pressure on. We need to protect marine wildlife, we need to protect the ocean. We need to protect our health.
After just two months, the NSW container deposit scheme is already collecting over 1.5 million containers a day. As the rest of Australia follows suit in coming months, Victoria will soon be the only mainland state without a 10 cents container refund scheme.Read more
After years of relying on China to process our plastic rubbish into something useable, the new Chinese National Sword ban is set to have devastating effects on Australia's waste problem if nothing is done.
The introduction of the comingled waste bin has always been an issue, but in Australia we took the lazy way out – ‘she’ll be right’. In the last few weeks I’ve been to crisis meetings with all stakeholders and the fear is palpable. If China won’t take our plastic waste for recycling because it is contaminated in our bins, what will we do with it? More landfill and incineration? Right now is not time for knee-jerk reactions and the glacial processes for better product stewardship, that have so far characterised waste policy development.Read more
The Queensland Government has extended the timeframe for the introduction of the state’s container refund scheme from 1 July to 1 November 2018.
The date was changed to respond to stakeholders who were keen to ensure the Queensland scheme leveraged the lessons learned from the rollout of the New South Wales scheme late last year.
The Queensland Government and Container Exchange (CoEx)—which has been appointed by the Queensland Government as the scheme’s Product Responsibility Organisation (PRO)—want it to be the best scheme in Australia.
The delay will allow time for the PRO to get a critical amount of refund points in place, the communications strategy rolled out, and for the community infrastructure grants program to take effect.
CoEx will be governed by a Board of nine directors, made up of beverage industry and independent representation, and including an independent chair.
As the scheme’s PRO, CoEx will work with the government to ensure the scheme is a success, and that it remains efficient and delivers positive outcomes for the public, community groups and the environment.
For more information about the scheme visit the Queensland Government website.
Note: The Plastic Bag Ban remains scheduled for introduction on 1 July 2018.
See the official Qld Government Media Release below:
Industry-backed extension will ensure Container Refund Scheme is right for Queensland
Extending the timeframe for the introduction of the state’s Container Refund Scheme will ensure the scheme is right for Queensland, Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said today.
Originally due to start 1 July this year, the scheme will now commence 1 November 2018.
“It’s important we get the scheme right from day one so that its full community, environmental and recycling benefits are realised,” Ms Enoch said.
“Extending the timeframe for the scheme’s introduction was requested by stakeholders to ensure Queensland did not run into the same roll-out issues experienced in New South Wales when its scheme started 1 December last year.
“While our scheme is not run along the same lines as that in New South Wales, it’s clear there are valuable lessons to be learned from the problematic introduction of their scheme.
“These include ensuring there are enough container refund points from the outset, so people have the ability to get the 10c refund.
“We know Queenslanders want a container refund scheme and we have industry and community support for it. We also recognise it takes time and effort to ensure this is done efficiently and effectively.”
Legislation to extend the start date of the Container Refund Scheme will be introduced into State Parliament tomorrow.
Waste Recycling Industry Association Queensland CEO Rick Ralph said the new timeframe would give industry time to establish the right systems and make investments to ensure the scheme was accessible to all Queenslanders from the beginning.
“Queensland’s complex demographics, coupled with recent changes in terms of markets for recovered products globally, prove the decision is right and important in making the program the very best it can be,” Mr Ralph said.
Ms Enoch said a new not-for-profit company Container Exchange (CoEx) has been appointed as the product responsibility organisation (PRO) to administer and run Queensland’s container refund scheme.
CoEx will be governed by a board of nine directors, made up of beverage industry and independent representation, and will include an independent chair.
As the PRO, CoEx will work with the government to ensure the scheme is a success, and that it remains efficient and delivers positive outcomes for the public, community groups and the environment.
“I am pleased that two of our largest beverage manufacturers – Coca-Cola Amatil and Lion – are involved in CoEx,” Ms Enoch said.
“This is fitting as these entities represent around half of the beverage brands on the Queensland market.
“This approach has the support of environment and community groups, as well as the beverage sector, and will provide balance, transparency and equity in how CoEx and the scheme itself is run.”
Ms Enoch said CoEx was required to ensure an adequate number of container refund points were in place when the scheme started so its benefits would be available across Queensland.
“We’re looking to have more than 200 refund points across Queensland ready to operate by 1 November this year, and CoEx will ensure they are located where as many people as possible in our de-centralised state can access them.
“CoEx has already started this process by putting a request for proposal into the market, seeking interest from individuals and organisations that want to run container refund points.
“CoEx will also work to ensure the scheme’s running costs are minimised, with as small an impact as possible on the beverage industry and the community.
“As we move towards the scheme’s 1 November start date, the public will be kept informed of container refund point locations and other relevant information through public information sessions, industry workshops, media announcements and online content.”
The refund scheme will see most drink containers between 150ml and 3L eligible for a 10 cent refund, although some containers are exempt.
Information on the scheme, including eligible containers, is available via the Queensland Government website.
Interested individuals, community groups and other organisations wanting to receive information on the request for proposal to set up container refund points should register through email@example.com before 5 March 2018.
Wow! In less than 3 months over 100 million containers have been collected by Return and Earn! And as we predicted they are finding markets because they are of high quality and not contaminated.
Many will have seen the hyper-criticism by some media outlets of short term issues being experienced by the NSW container deposit scheme - but it's unjustified.
Yes there are issues like the slower than planned rollout of collection points. However, every such scheme in the world has a ramp up period and it takes time for financially viable infrastructure to be put in place and for the community to adapt. We reject the hyper critical media commentators and some in the beverage industry who aren’t interested in a proven program being given time to sort out our serious recycling and litter problems.
New collection points are being opened every week and it’s very gratifying that the community wants more. As for the alleged consumer rip-off, the arrangements are no different to what occurs in South Australia - returns are projected; advance payment made by bottlers; and in the next quarter adjustments are made according to actual returns. Many bottlers then reduce their prices if there was overpayment. As the system settles in projections become more accurate. The initial agreed prices are to be reviewed after February.
The return rate for the first few months is close to what we predicted. It will gradually ramp up to about 80%. Return and Earn is a big, new program and NSW is the first state in Australia to bring in the modern, automated system that is necessary for our big cities and towns. We are continuing to monitor the program and where necessary, suggesting improvements.
This is an important call to action. We need you to respond to the Victorian government's "Reducing Plastic Pollution" Discussion Paper. It won't take more than a few minutes.Read more
- Reverse Vending Machines, located in convenient places all over NSW;
- Over the Counter Collection Points, including local convenience stores and cafes,
- Automated Depots where families, individuals, community groups, sports clubs etc can take a boot load, trailer load or just a big bag.
You can check out the location of these collection points here. More are being added and you can still register to be a collection point or host a Reverse Vending Machine. So if you want more locations near you, get out and talk to potential site owners and email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest.
If you have noticed an unreasonable price increase on your favourite beverages since the scheme began (eg: above 15c per container) we would encourage you to refer your observation to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART)
Also Return and Earn has created over 500 jobs and millions of dollars of investment in new infrastructure.
Sure, it’s been a slightly bumpy road but the teething problems have been ironed out and the results have demonstrated that it’s worth the effort. NSW already has a much cleaner environment, with far fewer bottles and containers finding their way into the litter stream. We have charities and social enterprises that are earning vital revenue through donated deposits and we have significantly reduced the quantity of plastic container that have found their way to the ocean – what’s not to love?
This page was last updated on 25 March 2019
Boomerang Alliance asked political parties in Queensland about their policies on plastic litter and waste reductions. With a plastic bag ban and container refund scheme already agreed upon by all parties and scheduled for introduction in July 2018, we were keen to know what each party proposed as the next steps to reduce single use plastics.
Our idea is for a Plastic Pollution Reduction Plan to identify and recommend solutions that will eliminate and reduce single use plastics. We were interested in addressing plastics use in the home and office, away from home, in commercial, industrial and agricultural settings and in the marine environment as a result of poor fishing practice and discards from vessels.
We also urged the immediate phase out of polystyrene takeaway products, and plans to phase out single use, non-biodegradable cups and food ware.
We also asked for support for a Waste levy in Queensland. Only the Greens have supported this, with the ALP wanting to wait on the current independent investigation on interstate waste transportation report-expected next month.
This is how the parties scored. We don’t endorse any political party but provide this as a guide to any Queensland voter concerned about plastic waste and litter.
Read Labor's response HERE
Read the Greens Response HERE
Authorised by Jeff Angel, Director, Boomerang Alliance, 99 Devonshire St, Surry Hills, NSW 2010