Plastic Pollution and Litter Reduction Policies (Queensland)
‘95% of plastic packaging is used once and then thrown away.’
New Plastic Economy-Ellen Macarthur Foundation/World Economic Forum Report 2016
In the next term of Parliament, we seek a new agenda on plastic reduction that builds on the good work achieved so far through the plastic bag ban and the Container Refund Scheme.
Boomerang Alliance supports the introduction of a Waste levy on all mixed wastes going to landfill in QLD, with any revenue hypothecated to resource recovery.
1. Maintain the introduction of a ban on lightweight plastic bags (including biodegradables) and a Container Refund Scheme in July 2018.
2. Expand the plastic bag ban to include the mass release of helium balloons and include plastic bags up to 70 microns.
3. Develop a Plastic Pollution Reduction Strategy for Queensland to follow up on the introduction of a Container Refund Scheme and plastic bag ban.
4. Provide support to communities actively seeking to reduce their single- use plastic packaging and introduce an educational program to promote the switch to reusable alternatives.
5. Introduce an immediate ban on polystyrene takeaway containers and food ware.
6. Set a program for the future phase-out of single use, non-biodegradable takeaway items by 2020 (coffee cups/lids, straws, takeaway containers, food ware and water bottles) in Queensland.
Priority plastic waste streams and practices for investigation in the Plastic Pollution Reduction Strategy should include:
- Soft plastics and film (with focus on retail/manufacturer practices)
- Agricultural/industrial use of single use, disposable plastic packaging and sheeting
- Plastic fishing lines/nets and bait bags
- Away from home plastic /composite items-coffee cups/lids, straws, food ware and takeaway containers
Authorised by Jeff Angel, Director, Boomerang Alliance, 99 Devonshire St, Surry Hills, NSW 2010.
We have some exciting news !!
Yesterday Premier Mark McGowan announced that Western Australia will ban plastic bags from July 2018. A time frame has also been given for Western Australia’s Container Deposit Scheme on bottle and cans. It is expected to start on 1 January 2019.
The failure of today’s meeting of environment ministers to agree on national coverage of plastic bag bans is due to the intransigence of NSW. Other states (WA, VIC) without bans have already announced they are looking at such action. NSW resists with the state being ever more flooded with polluting lightweight bags.Read more
Woolworths & Coles Ban the Bag in Australia
Today we welcome the announcement that Woolworths and Coles will ban lightweight plastic bags in their stores nationally from July 2018. Woolworths currently provide 3.2 billion plastic bags through their supermarkets annually.
There are now only three States, NSW, Victoria and Western Australia, who have yet to ban lightweight plastic bags, it's imperative that those State Governments to act to ban the bag.
Removing plastic bags in Australia is a significant first step in reducing this countries disposable plastic use and reducing threats to wildlife. Over 3 million tonnes of plastic is used in Australia every year, with most disposable plastics either landfilled or littered. It is estimated that between 100,000 and 120,000 tonnes of disposable plastic is littered annually. That is equivalent to 2.4 kgs per person in Australia.
We do however think Woolworths and Coles should go beyond their plan to introduce thicker bags at a 15 cents charge and urge that they replace this with fully proven reusable bag so the whole community adapts and use only genuinely reusable bags.
We recommend that supermarkets and other retailers see this ban as the first step in a movement to reduce the use of single use, disposable plastics. A review into plastic packaging of fresh food should be instigated with the aim of removing or replacing all unnecessary packaging.
WHAT WE NEED ARE WHOLE COMMUNITIES TAKING A SYSTEMATIC APPROACH TO REDUCE SINGLE-USE PLASTIC PACKAGING, WITH A FOCUS ON LONG LASTING SOLUTIONS.
Our Plastic Free Places program works in communities to directly reduce single-use plastic packaging items and to empower communities to make lasting changes towards a circular economy. The program focuses on six plastic items commonly found in litter - straws, coffee cups/lids, takeaway containers, food ware (cups, plates, cutlery etc.), bags and water bottles.
We have five current projects - in Byron, Perth, Adelaide, Cairns and Townsville, plus two trial projects in Victoria (Mt Martha and Elsternwick). Our pilot project Plastic Free Noosa (which commenced in Feb 2018) has since been handed over to Tourism Noosa.
As at the end of March 2020, data from our current and past projects (excluding the new projects in Cairns and Townsville) demonstrated over 5 million single use plastics had been eliminated or replaced during the program. This includes over 1.5million straws, 1million coffee cups and lids and 1.5million cold cups and containers.
- To show every community (businesses and consumers) how to switch from problem single use plastics.
- To demonstrate to all Australian governments that the community is ready, willing and able to change. This will ease the path for laws to phase-out these products; and support transition away from single use plastics.
How the program works
In a nutshell, we work directly with food retailers, events, markets, and other organisations and assist them to switch from single-use plastics to better alternatives, such as reusable (preferred) or compostable items. But that's just the beginning. We also work with council, suppliers, manufacturers, waste transport operators and composters to deliver real solutions to businesses and to the community.
SOUNDS SIMPLE? THAT'S BECAUSE WE WORK HARD TO MAKE IT LOOK THAT WAY!
Most of our work to successfully run the program occurs behind the scenes. Ensuring that the right partnerships are in place, addressing barriers to transition, facilitating composting solutions and providing the right advice and value to businesses is fundamental to our success.
COULD YOUR COMMUNITY BE NEXT?
Are you a community also looking to reduce your plastic footprint? Below is an an overview of our program, to get you started.
The Boomerang Alliance has welcomed the tabling of the Waste Reduction and Recycling Amendment Bill 2017 into the Queensland Parliament today as one of the most important environment protection measures in a generation. The bill legislates a ban on lightweight plastics bags and the introduction of a Container Refund Scheme, both in 2018.
The combination of a ban on bags, a refund on cans and bottles and associated public litter awareness will make Queensland a cleaner, safer and more resource-efficient state.
The Parliament needs to pass the legislation as soon as practical to allow the timely introduction of both measures in July 2018.
View our Media Release HERE
The next few weeks are critical for increasing community pressure on the three states that are yet to commit to a ban on single use plastic bags before the annual environment ministers meeting held at the end of June.
We need your continued support to help increase community pressure on New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria to ensure that all Australian states commit to a ban. As part of our accelerating campaign in the runup to the meeting:
Please join the Twitter Storm on Tuesday 23 May (World Turtle Day) from 12pm till 1pm AEST.
A twitter storm is a tweet event where many people post at the same time on a topic using a designated hashtag in order to make the hashtag trend. This will be noticed by the state Premiers and also help spread the message through social media.
Please do not 'retweet' but instead copy/paste the suggested tweets or make up your own with #BanTheBag and #NoMoreExcuses hashtags and @GladysB @MarkMcGowanMP and @DanielAndrewsMP. You can also attach pictures on littered bags.
The suggested tweets are:
The community is ready. Australia needs to #BanTheBag #NoMoreExcuses @GladysB @MarkMcGowanMP @DanielAndrewsMP
Australia needs to #BanTheBag #NoMoreExcuses @GladysB @MarkMcGowanMP @DanielAndrewsMP
We need to protect our oceans! It's time to #BanTheBag #NoMoreExcuses @GladysB @MarkMcGowanMP @DanielAndrewsMP
#NoMoreExcuses @GladysB @MarkMcGowanMP @DanielAndrewsMP We demand a ban on plastic bags! #BanTheBag
#NoMoreExcuses @GladysB @MarkMcGowanMP @DanielAndrewsMP Stop killing our oceans! It's time to #BanTheBag
Do the right thing @GladysB @MarkMcGowanMP @DanielAndrewsMP #NoMoreExcuses #BanTheBag
Step up and #BanTheBag @GladysB @MarkMcGowanMP @DanielAndrewsMP #NoMoreExcuses
Plastic kills – help protect our oceans now! It's time to #BanTheBag #NoMoreExcuses @GladysB @MarkMcGowanMP @DanielAndrewsMP
Don't pass the buck @GladysB @MarkMcGowanMP @DanielAndrewsMP #BanTheBag
Communities Taking Control - Wollongong Taskforce. If you wish to be involved in reducing single-use plastics across the entire Wollongong community please join the taskforce! We are looking to introduce our plan to Wollongong during Plastic Free July this year however information in the lead up will be send out with details on how you can get involved, including volunteering opportunities, information nights and links to printout materials to engage with local businesses. An overview of the Campaign can be found here.
For those looking to play a more active role in the development of the initiative, email andy.gray[at]boomerangalliance.org.au for more information.Sign up
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!
QUEENSLAND’S CONTAINER REFUND SCHEME Launched 1st November 2018. FOR INFORMATION ON HOW TO GET INVOLVED, PLEASE CONTACT COEX (Container Exchange) on 13 42 42 or visit https://www.containersforchange.com.au/.
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) for Queensland.
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.
Under the Container Refund Scheme, eligible beverage containers are worth 10c each. This presents a significant opportunity for community groups to raise additional funds through the collection and return of containers
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.