Great news for a Plastic Free Future

Posted on 02 December 2021

NSW generates 800,000 tonnes of plastics every year, and regrettably too much plastic pollution ends up in our oceans and waterways.

Last month, after years of public pressure and planning, the NSW Government passed the Plastic Reduction and Circular Economy Act 2021 which means that finally, single-use plastic bags, straws and cutlery will be phased out in this state.

This important step in tackling plastic pollution is long overdue. However, it is a victory for sustained community pressure on this issue.

As a member of a leading local community group Plastic Free Bronte we have been campaigning, advocating and educating our community for 5 years, to ban single-use plastics by working with local businesses, Waverley Council, other lobby groups and individuals.

We have delivered education campaigns and actions to enable the community to protect the local environment, especially our marine environment from plastic litter and rubbish, for example:

  • Our Ex-Strawdinary Initiative signed up all the Bronte Beach Cafes and restaurants to stop serving plastic straws.
  • Our Ocean Our Responsibility campaign has successfully raised awareness of the damage and impact of plastics and Micro plastics through compelling photographic posters.
  • We have delivered webinars at the Waverley Library to help locals reduce their plastic footprint.
  • We have recently completed our first Microplastic Audit of Bronte beach- using the AUsMap guidelines. We have 3 more sessions in the pipeline for 2022.
  • We regularly run beach clean ups and events where we showcase plastic alternatives and the shocking single use plastic statistics.
  • One of our founding committee members, ‘Marina DeBris’ uses marine plastic debris to make objects of art that encourage the viewer to question their consumption and use of single use plastics

We also work collaboratively with Council and other local environment groups to increase our impact and engage the community on this issue through events such as Summerama and Plastic Free July.

In fact, it was only 2 years ago, through our involvement in Plastic Free July that we helped collect over 500 signatures calling for strong action from the State Government to address the impact of single-use plastics, specifically in polluting our waterways and beaches. 

 

Plastic Free Bronte posters rubbish on beach

 

So, we are excited, and relieved, that lightweight plastic bags will be banned from 1 June 2022, and straws, stirrers, cutlery, cotton buds, sytrofoam food service items, plates and bowls and microbeads will be banned from 1 November 2022.

And while we hope to see a reduction in litter in our community once these bans are in place, ongoing effort at all levels will be required to replace plastic containers, cups and straws with viable alternatives, to advance recycling and reuse, and to encourage visitors and beachgoers to keep our environment litter-free.

Perhaps you’d like to join a local community group and give us a hand?

To join Plastic Free Bronte – visit https://plasticfreebronte.org.au/

 Read more about the Single Use Plastic legislation here or check these resources for easy plastic free hacks.

Christine Underhill is a founding committee member of Plastic Free Bronte, who participates and organises community led action combatting plastic pollution and protecting water quality and marine environments.

Images: Gergo Rugli

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.