Single-use plastics policy on agenda

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The City of Launceston will this week consider a proposed policy for phasing out single-use plastics at events, markets and other activities held on Council-managed land.

Last year, the Council approved a motion by Cr Andrea Dawkins signalling its intent to phase out single use plastics within Council facilities and at events held on Council-managed land, by the year 2022.

Since then the Council has been developing a draft policy to help guide progress towards this goal.

Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said the draft policy would present both opportunities and challenges to event organisers and the wider community.

“Single use plastics have long been a staple at many events and activities in Launceston because of their cheap cost and ease of disposal,” Mayor van Zetten said.

“However, plastic pollution is increasingly emerging as a significant environmental problem. It is estimated there will be more plastics than fish in the world’s oceans by 2050.

“What this draft policy is seeking to achieve is to minimise the impact of single use plastics on our marine environments. It’s aiming to help important places we all care about in Northern Tasmania like the kanamaluka / Tamar Estuary and the Cataract Gorge, but also places very far away from us where our waste might ultimately end up.

“Already in Launceston we’ve seen many events and local businesses eschewing single use plastics in favour of compostable packaging, and it’s a move many consumers have embraced.

“Events like Festivale, the Launceston Harvest Market, and Launceston Night Market have been moving away from plastic packaging for some time, but this policy will allow the Council to provide advice, support and guidance to other events which are yet to make the move.

“This newer compostable packaging can be disposed of in our FOGO collection service, which breaks it down over time into garden compost, and does not result in the harmful environmental impacts we see with plastics.

“If the draft policy is approved, it would also mean UTAS Stadium will be just the second AFL-standard stadium in Australia to use reusable cups.

“It’s going to be an interesting discussion at this week’s Council meeting and I’m looking forward to hearing any feedback from the community about the draft policy.”

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