The Hills Shire Council has proposed a number of initiatives to reduce its use of single-use plastics.
So far, Council has removed disposable coffee cups from its Council Administration building in Norwest, as well as removed plastic plates and serving platters, and replaced them with reusable crockery.
Single-use plastics are items that are used once before being thrown away or recycled and they include items such as shopping bags, straws and packaging.
Mayor of The Hills Shire, Dr Michelle Byrne said this was the first step in a process of reducing single-use plastics in Council buildings and venues.
“We have seen first-hand the direct impact plastics are having on our planet,” Mayor Byrne said.
“The Australian Government’s National Plastics Plan aims to reduce plastic waste and increase recycling, and at local level, we want to do our part to ensure we help in achieving this goal.
“I encourage residents to carry out their own assessment and look at ways they can reduce their use of plastics within their household.
“Together we can all make a difference,” she added
Councillor Alan Haselden, who first initiated Council discussions on the issue, said single-use plastics are one of the most pressing environmental challenges that we face.
“The National Geographic Society reports that less than 20 per cent of the world’s annual plastic production of more than 370 million tonnes is recycled. Most ends up in landfill and incineration, with huge quantities of litter finishing up in our waterways; destined ultimately for increasingly polluted oceans,” Clr Haselden said.
“Like so many of humanity’s challenges, change can take place in small steps and Council’s actions, falling in line with State and Federal Governments’ directions, are one such step and a signal to the Hills community.”
More recently, the Institute for Sustainable Futures at University of Technology Sydney (UTS) carried out a building review of Council’s use of single-use plastics and are due to provide recommendations to Council on how to reduce these items within all Council buildings.
Council has also developed a list of guidelines to look at practical ways to phase out single-use plastics that are most often littered – including water bottles, coffee cups and lids, straws, foodware (cups, plates and cutlery), takeaway containers, balloons and plastic bags – at Council events.
This project is a NSW Environment Protection Authority, Waste Less, Recycle More initiative, funded from the State’s waste levy.
Adding to this, the café located within Council’s Norwest Administration building has also taken the steps to reduce its use of single-use plastic. So far, they’ve made the switch to biodegradable takeaway packs and have begun to encourage the use of reusable coffee cups. They are also looking at ways they can further reduce their use of single-use plastics.