Cool Change: Plastic Free Noosa
Noosa is leading the charge to be Australia’s first Plastic Free community and thanks to Plastic Free Noosa and friends, it’s even easier to make the change. Deb Caruso discovers how and why it has set its sights on eliminating single-use plastic water bottles.
The numbers are staggering: more than 450 million single use plastic water bottles are sold in Australia per year and about 370 million are estimated to end up in landfill or our precious waterways. Read that sentence again. Then consider that an estimated two-to-three million single use plastic water bottles are sold in the Noosa Shire each year. Compounding the issue is the fact that only 21% of plastic water bottles in Australia are recycled and you can only recycle plastic once or twice. Consider that plastic can take up to 1000 years to break down in landfill and when littered, they often end up in the sea where they break up in small pieces, killing marine life that mistake them for food. In fact, up to 35% of our marine debris is from plastic water bottles.
How do we break the cycle of reaching for a plastic bottle of water to quench our thirst or to make a healthy drink choice?
Don’t despair – help is at hand thanks to the team at Plastic Free Noosa, part of the Boomerang Alliance and supported by Tourism Noosa and Noosa Council. The team has been working closely with local food outlets to eliminate single use plastics such as straws, takeaway food containers and cutlery, plastic bags and you guessed it – bottled water – for several years and has made amazing progress with more than 55 local Plastic Free Champions.
With the mission of replacing single-use plastic water bottles, Plastic Free Noosa has created an economical, eco-friendlier and sexier alternative.
INtroducing Australia’s first bespoke Noosa aluminium water bottles that are not only a smarter choice for the environment but each carton of still or sparkling water is a collection of four bottles that promote the region with a QR Code linking to the Visit Noosa website.
The bottles are lightweight, reusable and dishwasher safe, allowing them to be refilled at home or at any of the 13 Unitywater refill stations in the region.
The inside lining is a food grade lacquer so it breaks down in the recycling process; and you can claim a 10 cent refund at participating depots and outlets, just like any other canned beverages.
The bottles are Australian-made and produced in partnership with Australian-owned Bluesky Beverages who are currently on a mission to sell one million bottles (thereby removing one million plastic bottles) in its first two years.
Tourism Noosa’s Head of Sustainability Manager, Juanita Bloomfield-Terry said places where people want to visit and live and that are sustainable don’t happen by chance; they are a product of visionary thinking and smart planning, and these bottles highlight Noosa’s commitment to reducing single-use plastic.
“Initial feedback from members is that the bespoke NOOSA aluminium water bottles offer a highly attractive alternative because of the branding and design and environmental benefits.”
Plastic Free Noosa Program Manager Anita Butler said.
“We are thrilled with the positive response from many local restaurants, resorts and cafes and are looking forward to seeing the bottles in more and more venues in future. So far, we have already eliminated more than 3,000 single-use plastic water bottles and this number is growing daily,” she said.
She called on locals and visitors to drive demand and request the bespoke NOOSA aluminium water bottles when ordering still and sparkling water from local venues.
“This will only work if the community and businesses come together to make a positive and responsible choice,” she said.
Interested businesses should contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Tourism Noosa members will receive a special discount code providing extra incentive to make a positive change.
For information about the Plastic Free Noosa program which is supported by Tourism Noosa and Noosa Council visit www.plasticfreenoosa.org