10 March 2022

More major festivals, sporting events to go plastic-free as ban expands

| Lottie Twyford
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Manuka Oval

Major sporting events including those at Manuka Oval and Canberra Stadium will need to get rid of single-use plastics as the government’s ban expands. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Sporting events at Manuka Oval and Canberra Stadium will ditch single-use plastics under the latest expansion of the ACT Government’s phase-out of the harmful materials.

This will directly impact food vendors, which operate at NRL, Super Rugby, AFL and cricket fixtures at both venues.

Vendors will be required to swap single-use plastic items such as plastic bowls, plates, straws and takeaway containers with alternatives made from materials like hard cardboard or sugar-cane mulch.

Two upcoming major festivals – Groovin the Moo (GTM) on Sunday, 24 April and the National Folk Festival over the Easter weekend – will also be ‘plastic-free’.

READ ALSO Bill will mean government can declare events single-use-plastic-free

Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel described the expansion of the single-use plastics ban as a big step in accelerating Canberra’s shift to a more sustainable future.

“Fans attending football games at [Canberra Stadium], cricket at Manuka, or these music festivals at Exhibition Park will easily be able to take action to reduce their use of plastic,” Mr Steel said.

Both Brumbies Rugby CEO Phil Thomson and Canberra Raiders CEO Don Furner welcomed the change.

“As event organisers, we have a responsibility to protect the environment we occupy and I’m confident that our membership and fanbase will support us in this approach on game days,” Mr Furner said.

Similarly, organisers of GTM and the National Folk Festival embraced the government’s shift towards more environmentally-conscious events.

Festival crowd

This year’s GTM will also be plastic-free. Photo: File.

GTM co-promoter Stephen Halpin said eliminating single-use plastics is a priority for organisers.

“Our aim is to improve year on year and in 2022, in addition to our existing initiatives, we’re proud to be working alongside the ACT Government to ensure that single-use plastic straws and plastic takeaway containers will no longer be part of [the event],” he noted.

The government has moved slowly to implement a phase-out of single-use plastics. Last year, it announced several of its own major events including Enlighten and Australia Day would be plastic-free.

The Royal Canberra Show also took its own action and banned a swathe of single-use plastics this year.

A Territory-wide ban on single-use plastic cutlery, stirrers and expanded polystyrene takeaway containers took effect in July 2021.

READ ALSO More than 80 bus stops across Canberra to get an accessibility face lift

The government is currently consulting with industry and disability organisations ahead of the second tranche of bans coming into effect in July this year.

Items under consideration at the moment include single-use plastic straws (with exemptions for those who need them), cotton buds with plastic sticks, all oxo-degradable plastic products – such as degradable plastic bags and degradable dog waste bags and single-use plastic fruit and vegetable barrier bags.

Under long-term consideration are items like single-use plastic plates, bowls and cups, boutique or heavyweight plastic bags and plastic-lined coffee cups and lids.

In 2019, all Australian states and territories, along with the Commonwealth Government, committed to the National Waste Policy Action Plan, which included a commitment to phasing out problematic and unnecessary plastics by 2025.

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I agree with the ban, it’s a small slow step in the right direction but I can’t help comparing it to all the plastic waste that is generated in the building industry that seems to me is totally ignored. The plastic bags and styrofoam packaging around all the appliances, fixtures and fittings that are fitted into all the apartments and new homes being built or renovated. And it all goes to landfill or floating through the skies on a windy day from Mugga Lane.
Can we ban that as well? Albeit on a national level of course.

Disposable masks contain plastic.

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