Single-use plastics are certainly in the spotlight in 2021, with a number of Australian state governments announcing bans, and the release of the Federal National Plastics Plan.
This year Sunshine Coast Council signed up as a member council of Plastic Free July to accept the challenge and join the collective global efforts to reduce plastic waste, protect our environment and help our community avoid single-use plastics.
It’s not about being perfect or doing everything. But, we can all take small, practical steps now to reduce single-use plastics, and it can be so rewarding.
Participants often begin by choosing to refuse the ‘Top 4’ – straws, take-away coffee cups, plastic shopping and produce bags and water bottles.
Many cafes, restaurants and grocery stores are starting to accept reusables again, and if they’re not people can still make a difference by choosing to: refuse the lid, disposable cutlery, napkins and single-serve sauce sachets with takeaway meals. It all adds up!
For participants wanting to build up a supply of reusables to take with them, remember to use what you have, choose second hand and support local businesses. And, don’t forget to put your reusable items into your bag or car so that you always have them readily available!
There can be a real sense of satisfaction in making positive change for the environment. And the more often people do it, the more likely it will become a habit.
Single-Use Plastic Ban
As of Wednesday 1 September 2021, the Waste Avoidance and Reduction Amendment Bill 2020 bans certain single-use plastics throughout Queensland – including plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates, bowls and expanded polystyrene cups and containers.
The legislation exempts items that are reusable or certified to the Australian Compost standards (AS 5810/AS 4736). The QLD State Government has signaled its intention to add to this current list of banned items, and (after further investigation) include other problem takeaway plastics such as coffee cups, lids, cups and other packaging items in the ban.
You can keep up to date with information about how the obligations under the ban can be met here.
We are all part of the solution. Last year, by each taking small actionable steps every day, Plastic Free July participants collectively avoided 900 million kg of plastic waste that would otherwise have polluted our world.
Join millions of people worldwide taking the Plastic Free July challenge this year via plasticfreejuly.org. Visit Council’s Living Smart website for details on what’s happening near you: www.livingsmartqld.com.au