McGowan announces state-wide ban on plastic bags

I am pleased to hear Mark McGowan has announced WA will ban single-use plastic bags from July 1 2018.

The Premier made the announcement on ABC radio on this morning.

South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and ACT have already moved to ban plastic bags so good to see WA will follow.

Well done to the Fremantle community for driving this change locally and beyond too.

RECYCLING RIGHT – THE APPROACH OF SOUTH METRO COUNCILS

Monday’s ABC Four Corners program was hardly flattering to recycling in Australia but Fremantle through our part in the Southern Metropolitan Regional Council (member councils also include Cockburn, Melville, Kwinana and East Fremantle.) is leading the way in WA for diverting waste from landfill. Here is their official response:

SMRC RESPONSE TO FOUR CORNERS INVESTIGATION INTO WASTE MANAGEMENT

In light of the allegations presented in a recent ABC Four Corners programme into waste management practices in NSW and QLD, the Southern Metropolitan Regional Council (SMRC) would like to reemphasize that recyclables collected in the yellow-topped bins processed by the SMRC are recovered to the fullest extent possible with 85% of recyclables recovered and made into new products.

This includes glass which is recovered, ground and used in road base, as well as plastics, paper, cardboard, steel and aluminum which command a high value when sold to domestic and international markets.

The organic fraction of the green-topped general waste bins processed by the SMRC is recovered and processed into compost which is used in agriculture.

The SMRC is a transparent, local government organisation, committed to working with its member councils and the community to ensure environmentally sustainable outcomes.

The SMRC plays an important role in working towards increased recycling rates and encourages the community to assist our efforts by ensuring they continue to put the right thing in the right bin.

Residents of member Councils and members of the public can attend free tours of the Regional Resource Recovery Centre (RRRC) in Canning Vale to see firsthand what happens to their waste and virtual tours are also available on the Recycle Right website www.recycleright.wa.gov.au.

A Movie About A Life Less Plastic by Quincey for Plastic Free July

It was lovely to join the amazing Hilton Harvest crew, lots of families and Cr Hannah Fitzhardinge for the world premiere of Quincey’s great little stop motion short movie as part of Plastic Free July. Quincey is 10 years old  and Year 5 at Hilton Primary School. He did the clip after doing one day course at the Freo Arts Center. So talented!

I even got a small role. Not sure about my acting talents though!

As you can see it was a huge turnout at the PCYC in Hilton

The supermarket giants have pledged to stop supplying the single-use bags

Thanks everyone for my lovely birthday wishes yesterday.

A nice surprise present was that the major supermarkets have finally agreed to get rid of single-use plastic bags. The tide of community opinion seems to have finally persuaded them and Freo – once again – was at the forefront of bringing about this change. Well done all.

 

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-15/plastic-bags-in-firing-line-amid-calls-for-national-ban/8711386

Plastic bags in the firing line as public figures line up to trash inaction in NSW, Victoria and WA

There are growing calls for a national ban on single-use plastic bags, after Coles and Woolworths yesterday announced they would phase out the environmental hazards.

The supermarket giants, as well as New South Wales chain Harris Farm Markets, have pledged to stop supplying the single-use bags to shoppers within 12 months.

Their decision will affect customers in Australia’s two biggest markets — NSW and Victoria — as well as Western Australia.

All other states and territories have already implemented bans, or have plans to do so.

The move, which is expected to cut the number of single-use bags circulating in Australia by about 7 billion annually, has been welcomed by industry heavyweights and environmentalists.

National Retailers Association chief Dominique Lamb said he was preparing members for a total plastic bag ban in light of the supermarkets’ announcements.

“It is not meant to be an impost on small business; in fact it’s often going to be cheaper because they will have different types of bags they can implement and also we’re going to find that we’re going to have a change in culture around plastic bags,” he said.

War on plastic waste

Craig Reucassel presented the ABC TV series War on Waste, which put the spotlight on recycling and sustainability down under.

“One of the hardest things in the War on Waste was trying to find out why the states weren’t bringing this in,” Mr Reucassel said.

“It already existed in some states and it is generally popular in states that have plastic bags bans.

“I was trying to figure out why WA, NSW and Victoria, weren’t doing it.

“It didn’t seem like there wasn’t a push back against it? It was just the lack of political will or desire to do it.”

Woolworths said more durable, re-usable plastic bags would be made available at a cost of 15 cents, along with multi-use hessian bags.

“I think the (Federal) Government still needs to come in,” Mr Reucassel said.

“They (Coles and Woolworths) are not the only organisations that are doing this.

“There are still a lot of other supermarkets or other chains that are still using single-use plastic bags, so you still need the legislation there.”

WA a bag battle ground

If there was a perception NSW and Victoria were dragging their heels on bag bans, WA’s former Government took the cake for tardiness.

In 2013, the City of Fremantle announced plans to outlaw single-use plastic bans in its southern Perth jurisdiction, but the move was twice struck down by the Barnett Government.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said the council was preparing a third attempt at introducing at the local law.

“This time the State Government has said they would not block it,” he said.

“We need to advertise the local law, and that’s happening next week, so we’d expect it to be in place within six months.”We have a new state government which is much more sympathetic to it.”

Mayor Pettitt described the decision by the major supermarket chains as “significant”.

“I think it’s fair to say they’re the biggest single users of plastic bags,” he said.

“When we did our local laws in 2013, the only objections we had were from the major supermarkets.

“You can’t help but think that this would pave the way for a whole ban on single-use bags across the country.”

Tips for living without plastic bags

  • Separate your rubbish, learn what you can recycle
  • Use composting bins to dispose of wet waste
  • Don’t line your bin, simple wash it weekly or as needed
  • Raise chooks to feed food scrap too
  • Be selective about what you buy – take glass containers and buy food in bulk
  • Take plastic or green bags back to the supermarket to recycle
  • Try to use biodegradable bags

Launch of Boomerang Bags and Plastic Free July at Growers Green Farmers Market this Sunday

You are invited to join us for the Launch of Boomerang Bags and Plastic Free July at Growers Green Farmers Market this Sunday, 9.30am, 2 July 2017.

Boomerang Bags is a community movement. The bags are made by volunteers using recycled fabric and are available for shoppers to use when they forget their own shopping bags.  This stops the need to use plastic bags.  The bags are boomeranged around the community via stands which enable you to drop off and borrow again.  This simple idea has given communities the opportunity to think and share sustainable practices, recycle materials and come together to stop the amount of single use plastic.

We hope you can join me along with Plastic Free July founder Rebecca Prince Ruiz, and Minister Simone McGurk at Growers Green Farmers Market and see how we are embracing the phase out of single use plastic  in Freo.

The Campaign to Ban Plastic Bags Goes National on The Project

Following on nicely from the plastic bag local law that we have been debating at Freo Council this month, the Project has teamed up with Clean Up Australia to see single-use non-biodegradable plastic bags banned across Australia. Thanks to existing bans in South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory, the ACT, and an impending ban in Queensland we just need WA, NSW and Victoria to get on board for an Australia wide ban.

Here are some great snippets from the segment that you can view below:

Support for existing bans is overwhelming. In South Australia, 81% of the consumers strongly support the ban. As do 73% of Territorians, and 70% of Australians living in the ACT.

Currently, Australians use an estimated four to six billion plastic bags each year. That’s 10 million bags every day. Every minute, we send 7,150 plastic bags to landfill. But 80 million plastic bags never make it to landfill, and instead end up in our litter stream, killing 100,000 birds and marine life every year.

On average, it’s estimated we use a single-use plastic bag (like you’d find at Coles and Woolies) for just 12 minutes. And that same bag could take up to 1,000 years to break down. A plastic bag you use today will share this planet with your great great great great great great great great great great great great grandchildren.

Many countries around the world, from China to Italy, Papua New Guinea to France, Taiwan to The Netherlands, have already banned plastic bags. But despite supporting in spirit, the banning of plastic bags, the Premiers of NSW, Victoria, and Western Australia are yet to lead on the issue. We want them to #BanTheBag so that Australia is not left behind as the rest of the world addresses this serious and avoidable environmental disaster.

Check out the very funny segment here:

https://tenplay.com.au/channel-ten/the-project/extra/season-8/banthebag

http://www.watoday.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/news-and-current-affairs/the-project-and-clean-up-australia-campaign-to-ban-plastic-bags-in-three-states-20170419-gvo1l1.html

 

 

Plastic Free July: Is your daily coffee killing the earth?

A good article in the West today by Freo resident Rebecca Prince-Ruiz on plastic and the planet. Might be time to reintroduce our local law on banning single use plastic bags 🙂 

https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/31807189/is-your-daily-coffee-killing-the-earth/

Grabbing a takeaway coffee on the way to work when dropping off kids or after a workout has become a habit for many West Australians.

The aroma of freshly roasted beans can transport us to another place and prepare us for a busy day.

But after those few moments of bliss, we simply throw the cup away.

Have you ever wondered where “away” is? It’s estimated Australians use one billion disposable coffee cups each year. Besides plastic lids, paper cups are often lined with plastic film.

Little is recycled, most is landfilled and, like many other disposable plastic items, can end up as litter. Either way, what’s not priced into our daily cup is the cost of them remaining on our planet for decades.

Since its invention just over a century ago, plastic has become part of our daily life and is increasingly used for disposable items. Every day we use bags, water bottles, straws and food packaging for a few minutes before discarding them. Almost every piece of plastic ever made still exists on earth.

And our consumption is increasing — in the first 10 years of this century more plastic was produced than in the entire last century.

Having the “recycling symbol” on plastic packaging doesn’t mean that it will be recycled. The number simply identifies what type of plastic the item is made from. Recycling rates depend on where the item is disposed, local waste management facilities and other factors. Australia last year achieved an overall plastics recycling rate of 20 per cent (with WA lagging other mainland States). Even if this was higher, recycling will never be the whole answer. Sometimes it’s cheaper to use virgin plastics rather than recycled plastic.

Plastic pollution in our oceans is an issue of global concern, impacting our environment, our economy and our health. Plastic entangles and is ingested by wildlife as small as plankton to as large as whales.

A recent CSIRO study found plastics will have the greatest impact on wildlife in the Southern Ocean, with scientists recording up to 200 pieces of plastic in the gut of a single seabird.

The Australian Senate this year completed an inquiry into the threat of marine plastic pollution and recommended it be placed on the Council of Australian Governments’ agenda for urgent consideration.

There is no denying the source of the problem — the majority of plastic has been in someone’s hands and those same hands hold the solutions.

At a personal level, there are a few steps we can all take to reduce our “plastic footprint”. Remembering reusable bags, water bottles and coffee cups and refusing plastic such as straws and buying in bulk can greatly reduce unnecessary packaging and is better for your health, too.

As consumers, we can boycott personal care products containing plastic microbeads such as facewash and toothpaste (avoid polyethylene).

Each item can contain hundreds of thousands of plastic beads too small to be captured by wastewater treatment systems that end up in the ocean for ever, a perfect size to enter the food chain. Ultimately, to address the scale of the problem, solutions need to go beyond the personal. Local governments are leading the way.

The Town of Cottesloe recently voted to ban smoking on beaches because cigarette butts, which are made of plastic, are the most commonly found litter item in beach clean-ups worldwide.

The Senate inquiry contains recommendations for the introduction of legislation for States and Territories as well as nationally. Banning the use of single-use lightweight plastic bags results in increased use of reusables and a decrease in plastic bag litter.

Container deposit schemes exist in the NT, SA and will soon be introduced in NSW and have been shown to increase recycling rates and decrease littering. During the Senate inquiry, the CSIRO reported South Australia’s scheme as “very successful, reducing the number of beverage containers, the dominant plastic item in the environment, by a factor of three”.

Often the cost of introducing these measures is cited as a barrier. However, the cost of plastic pollution itself is rarely accounted for and is borne by clean-up efforts of volunteers, local governments and the environment. What price are we prepared to pay?

Take the first step — sign up for the Plastic Free July challenge at plasticfreejuly.org and refuse single-use plastic. Be part of the solution to plastic pollution.

Rebecca Prince-Ruiz is acting sustainability manager, Western Metropolitan Regional Council.