This Plastic Free July Sunshine Coast residents are encouraged to refuse single-use plastic products and adopt more sustainable behaviours by transitioning to reusable alternatives.
Many single-use plastic items can be avoided by making simple changes in our daily habits and choices. Last year, an estimated 326 million people worldwide took part in Plastic Free July. On average, participants reduced their household waste and recycling by almost 5% (or 21kg).
Environment and Liveability Portfolio Councillor Maria Suarez said Sunshine Coast Council’s message was #choosetorefuse or #choosetoreuse.
“This year as part of our ongoing efforts to reduce plastic waste, protect our environment and help our community avoid single-use plastics, council has become a council member of Plastic Free July,” Cr Suarez said.
“We aim to empower Sunshine Coast residents to make more sustainable choices and throughout the month of July, we’ll be sharing tips and hosting events to showcase simple ways we can all swap out single-use plastics and help reset our sustainable mindset.
“Last year I undertook the Plastic Free July challenge and will do so again this year. I am committed to taking my BYO coffee cup and water bottle with me when I am on the go and avoid single-use bags when shopping.
“And, I’d really like to encourage the community to get on board with the challenge too.”
Single-use plastics have such a short life before being tossed in the bin and rank high in the litter stream. They are generally pretty lightweight so can easily get swept away before being disposed of correctly.
Plastic never breaks down, it only breaks up – sometimes into millions of tiny pieces, turning into micro plastics that may never totally disappear.
The Ellen MacCarther Foundation projects that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
Fellow Environment and Liveability Portfolio Councillor Peter Cox said sustainable living formed a key part of council’s Banksia award-winning Environment and Liveability Strategy and Plastic Free July was a great time to learn new ways to contribute to a healthy environment and liveable Sunshine Coast.
“Council has data on the thousands of waste items recovered from our waterways during paid clean-ups and through the largely volunteer powered beach clean ups,” Cr Cox said.
“Doggy poo bags, cigarette butts and other hard plastics are cause for ongoing concerns.
“As various State Government Legislation changes have come into play related to single-use plastics, such as the ban on lightweight plastic shopping bags and containers for cash, there have been some observed changes in the types of plastics littering our environment.
“And with the next round of Queensland bans to single-use plastics happening this September, we look forward to seeing a continued shift to more sustainable products.”
This July, council is hosting and supporting events, workshops, online classes and beach clean-ups. To find out what’s happening near you this Plastic Free July visit council’s Living Smart website: livingsmartqld.com.au or head to plasticfreejuly.org/get-involved to learn more.
For more information on the upcoming single-use plastics ban head to qldplasticsban.com.au
Local businesses leading the way
Here on the Sunshine Coast we are also lucky to have great local innovators and solution providers who are making it easier to either ditch or reduce single-use plastics from our daily lives.
Ellie DeGraeve from Go for Zero, Ami Bateman from Pleasant State, Kelly Lavery from Strucket and Sam Spunner from Sinchies are just a few great local examples of businesses that have developed products that can provide solutions to single-use plastics.
Bernie Craven from Waste Free Solutions is committed to supporting circular economy outcomes by capturing unwanted plastics from hair, beauty and even a sustainable surf board company.
And keep an eye out for the growing number of stores providing a bulk food service – where you can bring your own containers or reusable bags – to substantially reduce your food packaging waste.