Mayor Jack Dempsey says the Bundaberg Region led the way in reducing single-use plastics and he welcomes the new statewide ban.
Polystyrene foam food containers and cups, single-use plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery and plates will all be banned from 1 September 2021 under new legislation.
Mayor Dempsey said plastic straws and helium balloons were banned from Council venues and events in April 2018 after he received approaches from Reef Guardian schools.
“The kids were fantastic in presenting the obvious case that Bundaberg should be a state, national and world leader in protecting our turtles and the natural environment,” he said.
“We took that decision in 2018 as a Council and it’s great to see the rest of Queensland is now catching up.”
Businesses within the region are also proud participants of the #LessIsMore campaign, which is helping to reduce the impact of single-use plastic on the Great Barrier Reef.
In 2019, the Burnett Local Marine Advisory Committee (LMAC) started their #LessIsMore for the Great Barrier Reef Campaign.
Bundaberg Regional Council supported the program, assisting to deliver 100,000 special paper #LessIsMore straws made available to businesses and schools in the region.
Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said there was overwhelming community support for banning these types of products which were too often discarded thoughtlessly.
“Plastic pollution is spoiling our streets and parks, escaping into our ocean and waterways and killing our iconic wildlife,” Ms Scanlon said.
“Half of all plastic produced is designed to be used only once and then thrown away and that litter is destroying our environment.”
Ms Scanlon said there had already been enormous benefits from banning single-use plastic shopping bags, with litter surveys showing a 70 per cent reduction in not just lightweight plastic shopping bag litter, but all plastic bag litter since the ban began on 1 July 2018.
“Now we intend to continue removing these types of products from the environment, with this legislation focusing on single-use straws, stirrers, cutlery, and plates,” she said.
“During our community consultation stage, from March last year, some 94 per cent of the 20,000 respondents supported our proposal to ban these items.
“This legislation also makes provision for more single-use items to be banned through regulation in the future.”
National Executive Officer of the Australian Organics Recycling Association, Peter Olah, said plastics contamination was the biggest barrier to achieving an even greater environmental and economic contribution through organics recycling.
“Each state must implement a ban on single-use plastics which are not compostable,” Mr Olah said.
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