Turning the Tide on Plastic
More and more people have become aware and concerned with the impact plastic has on our environment and now is not the time to be complacent. Plastic Free Noosa continues to lead the charge with a systematic approach to reduce single-use plastic with a focus on long lasting solutions, as Edwina Cattanach discovers.
Plans to rid Australia of single-use plastics are being stepped up with the Queensland Government recently passing a law banning single-use plastic and polystyrene takeaway containers.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk recently announced that from 1 September 2021 single-use plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery and plates will join single-use plastic shopping bags on the banned list in Queensland. A ban on other products will be considered at a later stage, including coffee cups, takeaway food containers and heavyweight plastic bags. This change will see Queensland become the second Australian state or territory to pass laws banning single-use plastics.
Premier Palaszczuk acknowledged on Twitter that some people will still need access to some of these products to stay safe and healthy. Therefore these new laws will include important exemptions that recognise the needs of people with a disability, those in aged care, schools and the health sector.
Thankfully in Noosa, we are already ahead of the plastic-free pack thanks to Tourism Noosa’s dedicated Plastic Free Noosa program and its commitment to eliminating single-use plastics has already proven extremely successful.
We were one of the first communities in Australia to take on this battle in 2018 and since then Noosa has eliminated over 4.5 million pieces of plastic. Our success is empowering other communities to follow along, as Noosa continues to lead the way in showing what can be achieved when a community works together towards a single goal.
The Coronavirus pandemic saw changes in operations and directives around things like using Keep Cups and takeaway containers but with things returning to some level of ‘normal’ it is time to recommit to the fight against single-use plastics.
Tourism Noosa is working with Noosa Council, local businesses (specifically hospitality/retailers), community organisations and schools as well as event organisers and individuals to target plastic items which represent problematic and prolific sources of the litter stream.
“We have already had great success in dramatically reducing our single use plastics and the commitment and support from locals and business owners has been great,” says Plastic Free Noosa Program Manager Anita Butler. “We have almost 200 businesses on their way to being Plastic Free Noosa Champions by eliminating the six most common single use plastics for good.
“This is a key step in creating a better environment for everyone, today and in the future.”
There are many initiatives that have been implemented to support Plastic Free Noosa. In what was an Australian first, Tourism Noosa in partnership with Bluesky Beverages designed a NOOSA collection of aluminium water bottles. These aluminium bottles of water are not only a smarter choice for the environment but each carton of still water comes as a collection of four bottles that are a stunning representation of the region (both in and out of the fridge). There is even a sparkling option for restaurants. Since launching, these bottles have significantly reduced the number of single-use plastic water bottles that are sold within our region each year. Sales showed that within the first five months, local businesses successfully eliminated 50,000 single-use plastic bottles!