Stamp Out Single Use Plastic

 Northern Beaches Council "This 4 That" campaign, Dee Why Beach, Tuesday 27 June 2017  - © Karen Watson 2017

A major drive to discourage people from single use plastic and raise awareness about the environmental impact is being spearheaded by the Northern Beaches Council.

COVERED. learned more about the campaign and how the council is rallying public support.

A major part of the initiative has been the council’s ‘Swap This For That’ campaign asking the community to put down single-use plastic bags, bottles, straws and coffee cups - the ‘Big Four’ – and to use sustainable alternatives.

Mark Ferguson, Chief Executive Officer for the council, said ‘Swap This For That’ offers practical tips to safeguard the environment from plastic pollution.

“It’s surprisingly easy to make the change to reusables and rewarding to know that your actions are building part of the solution to this global problem,” he explains.

‘Swap This For That’ is one of the many ways the council is targeting single-use plastics. It has also introduced a Waste Minimisation at Functions and Events Policy and Single Use Plastics Policy.

Council staff are swapping takeaway coffee cups for reusables, which could save up to 50,000 non-recyclable cups ending up in landfill each year.

“It’s important for council to lead by example in tackling this issue at a grass-roots level to reduce the massive amount of plastic waste ending up in our waterways, oceans and bushland each year.

“I’m thrilled that an overwhelming 88 per cent of council staff said they supported a ban on disposable coffee cups,” adds Mark.

An American University study estimated that the world’s oceans contain a minimum of 5.25 trillion plastic particles - weighing 268,940 tonnes. With a global population of 7.2 billion that means almost 700 pieces per person.

When it comes to single use plastics, the council’s policy acknowledges that the production of plastic, ‘relies on non-renewable resources and produces harmful chemicals that place an inequitable burden on future generations’. Also that it is a major cause of global environmental degradation and species decline.

The council is partnering with local businesses, community groups, suppliers and contractors to eliminate single use plastics and lobbying Federal and State agencies to ban plastic bags.

In addition, the council aims to promote best practice waste management at all public events held in the Northern Beaches local government area.

Events and functions held on council property and public open space, must practice waste avoidance by minimising the amount of waste generated and by not allowing the sale or distribution of single-use plastic products like plastic bags, plastic straws, bottled water and single use sachets, polystyrene and balloons. 

The policy also ensures recycling takes place, as well as minimising the environmental impact of any products supplied and promotional materials used
at these events.