Local businesses can help the region become a “plastic-free place” by supporting a new program aimed at phasing out single-use plastic in cafes, restaurants, hotels and more.
The Plastic Free Places program is run in partnership with the State Government and Boomerang Alliance, with support from Bundaberg Regional Council.
It aims to diminish the amount of single-use plastics, which currently account for more than 75 per cent of rubbish removed from Australian beaches.
The initiative supports businesses in engaging environmentally-friendly suppliers, providing on-the-ground support, data collection and breaking down barriers that business owners might face.
Additionally, the $1.6 million Plastic Free Places program also reaches out to hotel and tourism providers to help them come up with ways to get rid of single-use plastics in their venues, including shampoo and conditioner bottles.
Boomerang Alliance Campaign Manager Toby Hutcheon said the free program had already been rolled out in a number of regions throughout Australia and was now being introduced in Bundaberg.
“We have engaged with 600 cafes in Noosa, Cairns, Townsville, and Central QLD and helped them eliminate or replace over eight million single use plastic items,” he said.
“This expansion means that the project can be active across South-East Queensland and help local businesses in the way that we have achieved in other regions of the state.
“A new innovation will be a focus on reusable food ware and BYO coffee cups.
“Hotels and cafes can play a big part in helping Queenslanders make the switch away from disposable packaging.”
Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey said Council was supporting the rollout of the campaign and local businesses were encouraged to get involved.
“Renowned as having the nation’s largest nesting turtle population and with the Great Barrier Reef right on our doorstep, it is paramount that we strive towards becoming a plastic free place,” he said.
“This program will not only support businesses to make the switch from plastic to reusable, but it will also guide the community in thinking ahead about how we as individuals can do our part.
“Whether it is taking our own coffee cups to cafes, using reusable straws or choosing more plastic-free options, there is so much opportunity to do the right thing by our environment.”
Make the change from plastic
State Government Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said the program was step in the right direction in supporting businesses to make the change from plastic to environmentally-friendly materials.
“Some businesses might already have measures in place, some might not,” she said.
“This free program is about helping business owners either get started or take it to the next level.
“The majority of Queenslanders are already taking steps to cut out single-use plastics, and together with many business owners they want to see it cut out from the places they dine, shop and stay at too.”
To get your business involved in the Plastic Free Places program, visit the website here.
- About 300 million tonnes of plastic waste is produced every year, almost equivalent to the weight of the entire human population.
- Around 800 species worldwide, including 77 Australian species, are impacted by marine debris.
- Over 75% of rubbish that is removed from Australian beaches is made of plastic.
- Half of all plastic produced is designed to be used only once—and then thrown away.
- At least 8 million tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean each year—which is equivalent to dumping more than 170 wheelie bins of plastic into the ocean every minute.
- Research has shown that 7 in 10 Queenslanders are taking steps to reduce their consumption of single-use plastics when away from home.
- Turtles have a 20% chance of dying if they ingest just one piece of plastic, and over 70% of loggerhead turtles found dead in Queensland waters have ingested plastic.
- More than 85% of contamination in the Great Barrier Reef is from microfibres.
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