8 June 2019

23,000 tonnes of landfill: Government widens consultation on banning single use plastics

| Glynis Quinlan
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single use plastics

The Government is widening the consultation on banning single use plastics such as plastic cutlery and cups.

The ACT Government is broadening its consultation phase on banning single use plastics – saying it is no longer sustainable for 23,000 tonnes of plastic to go into ACT landfill each year and that it wants the community to get involved in addressing the problem.

To date 298 Canberrans have already put forward their views on managing single use plastics but the Government has now started community and business feedback surveys on the topic and announced dates for information sessions.

ACT City Services Minister Chris Steel is challenging more people to take part in the consultation, saying the community needs to be involved in taking real action on the issue.

“Most people don’t think twice about throwing single use plastic in the garbage bin but when it goes into the garbage bin it comes to the landfill and builds up and will persist for hundreds of years, so it’s something we need to address,” Mr Steel said.

“Recent figures show that over 23,000 tonnes of plastic goes into landfill in the ACT each year. This is quite simply unsustainable. We are going through too much single use plastic and it’s time we reduce our reliance on these products and move to a better alternative.”

Co-owner of Teddy Picker’s cafe in Campbell, Caleb Evans (left) has replaced plastic straws with metal straws at his cafe. He is pictured with ACT City Services Minister Chris Steel. Photo: Glynis Quinlan.

In mid-April, the Government released a discussion paper asking for community input on how best to phase out ‘unnecessary single-use plastics’ such as plastic cutlery, polystyrene plastic food containers and disposable coffee cups.

“Many people across the ACT have already provided some interesting feedback so far, with 298 community members putting forward their views on the best way to manage single use plastics,” Mr Steel said on Friday (June 7).

“From today we will broaden the way Canberrans can provide us with their view on single use plastics, with the community and business surveys available online.

“There will also be a range of community feedback sessions that members of the ACT community and from ACT businesses to participate in to have their say.”

Some of the products currently being considered for phasing out include:

  • Plastic straws and stirrers
  • Plastic cutlery
  • Disposable plastic plates and cups
  • Disposable plastic-lined coffee cups and lids
  • Polystyrene (foam) plastic food containers and beverage cups
  • Light-weight fruit and vegetable bags
  • Other non-recyclable plastics.

Items which are not being considered as part of the consultation include:

  • Microbeads (already being phased out)
  • Plastic beverage containers
  • Other plastic packaging (e.g. food packaging, consumer goods)
  • Sanitary items
  • Nappies and incontinence products
  • Reusable plastic bags above 35 microns in thickness, including ‘green bags’, ‘biodegradable’ and ‘compostable’ bags
  • Health-related sterile items (e.g. syringes).

The Government is also inviting Canberrans who would like to get more involved to attend one of the following free community information sessions:

  • Saturday 15 June, 10 am-12 pm, Canberra Museum and Gallery
  • Tuesday 18 June, 6 pm-8 pm, Hellenic Club of Canberra

Information sessions for businesses are being held on the following dates:

  • Wednesday 25 June, 7 am-9 am, Rydges Capital Hill
  • Wednesday 10 July, 7 am-9 am, East Hotel
  • Thursday 11 July, 3:30 pm-5: 30 pm, East Hotel

To take the community or business survey or register to attend one of the sessions please visit yoursay.act.gov.au. Consultation is open until the end of July 2019.

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