On Saturday April 25th, the Queensland Cash for Containers team joined forces with Scouts Queensland and took to the beaches to create a statement the local media could not ignore. Using over 2000 cans and bottles largely collected from Gold Coast beaches, parks and waterways, we created the world’s largest surfboard sculpture made from recycled litter. Measuring 13.3m long and 3.5m wide, the attempt was made on the Gold Coast and will be submitted for a new record on recordsetter.com.Read more
In the last two months our campaign for a Cash for Containers scheme in Queensland has gone out to the regions, with much fanfare. Our key supporters, Surfrider Foundation, in particular, has picked up the mantle and made a big noise. With Surfider running the show, we have launched the campaign and our Queensland Plastic Pollution Report.Read more
The Queensland Government has now established two Advisory Committees to assist in the development of a cash for containers scheme and possible plastic packaging bans. I have been appointed on to both committees. We expect that the State Government will be asking the public what they think about these measures, within the next six months.Read more
So what is happening?
After many years campaigning, a ban on plastic bags is on the agenda at the Environment Ministers meeting on Friday 25 November 2016. It is time for action on plastic bags - once and for all.
Plastic Bag Free groups have been running local actions and collecting thousands of supporters. In 2012 Plastic Bag Free NSW volunteers have collected 12,472 signatures on a petition asking the NSW government to introduce a ban on lightweight plastic bags. On the 4th June 2015 the Plastic Bag Ban petition was presented to Bruce Notley-Smith (Member for Coogee) at NSW Parliament House; and Bruce triggered a parliamentary debate for 13 August 2015. Plastic Bag Free Victoria presented in August 2016, thousands of names to their Parliament and the Vic Greens have lodged a bill to ban the bag and other damaging plastics.
Importantly the Qld government will be issuing a Discussion Paper on a bag ban soon in 2016. We are lobbying for other states to join in.
A July 2015 Omnipoll revealed 63% of Australians (and also grocery buyers) support a ban on single use plastic bags from supermarkets and stores. 81% support the existing ban in South Australia showing public support grows once a ban comes into effect.
We have provided all state and federal environment ministers with the facts and a detailed policy position. While previous states such as SA and NT have banned plastic bags they created a major loophole by allowing so-called biodegradable bags - but these simply break up into small pieces (microplastics) and contain heavy metals. They need to be banned too.
Will our governments act on 25/11/16? Tell them you support a ban on single-use plastic bags.
What can you do?
Encourage your environment minister to support an effective ban, including the greenspin biodegradable ones:
- NSW Environment Minister Mark Speakman (email@example.com or (02) 8574 6390
- Vic Environment Minister, Lily D'ambrosio (firstname.lastname@example.org) or (03) 8392 2100
- WA Environment Minister, Albert Jacob (Minister.Jacob@dpc.wa.gov.au) or (08) 6552 5800
- Qld Environment Minister, Steven Miles (email@example.com) or (07) 3719 7330
- Phone or write to your local NSW state MP / local Vic state MP / local WA MP/ local Qld MP - and tell them you support a ban on lightweight plastic bag
- Spread the word.
The Plastic Bag Free NSW coalition has sensibly examined transitional issues and proposed:
A comprehensive education program and structured transitional period.
There can be exceptions on the use of ‘barrier bag’ style plastic bags at relevant retailers as there are issues associated with the sale and transport of perishable foods (e.g. meat, fish)
Sale of plastic bag bin liners may increase (as has occurred in other states with bans) PBFNSW have limited concern about the increase in the sale of plastic bag bin liners as they are highly unlikely to become litter. PBFNSW would support access to reduced cost 100% compostable bin liners and investigation and education about other alternatives.
The ban should extend to takeaway food outlets and smaller retail stores. Research highlights that such stores are a significant source of plastic bag litter as plastic bags are used for a short timeframe and for limited items.
Effective evaluation and monitoring must be implemented alongside the ban with scope to modify and extend the ban if necessary.
To know more: read our fact sheet about plastic bags.
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.
The Queensland government just announced it will “examine what a container deposit scheme (CDS) in the state could look like” and prepare for a public consultation later this year. It also agreed to become an observer to the NSW CDS design process. Given Queensland's growing reputation as the most littered state in Australia, its move is a very necessary step. A 10 cents deposit scheme on bottles and cans would dramatically reduce litter and pollution in the Sunshine state.Read more