Plastic Free July Launch Today on World Environment Day in Fremantle.

It was great to have the the Hon. Minister Stephen Dawson MLC, Minister for Environment to launch the 2018 Plastic Free July campaign today on World Environment Day at B.Shed in Fremantle.

With the 2018 World Environment Day theme of #BeatPlasticPollution it is timely to encourage all Western Australians to take action and be part of the solution to this growing problem.

Well done to Rebecca Prince-Ruiz and the Plastic Free July team for their great leadership on this.

Freo has proudly been at the forefront of the fight against singe use plastics with a single-use plastic bag ban advocated for many years and Fremantle will also be one of the first councils to move towards the three bin system this year to further increase our already above average recycling rates.

Information sharing session on the Western Australian plastic bag ban

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, in partnership with the Boomerang Alliance, invites you to attend an information sharing session on the Western Australian plastic bag ban.

Mon 12 Feb 6:00–7:30pm

Fremantle Library, 70 Parry St, Fremantle Oval

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.


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:


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

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.

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.