Single-use plastics to be phased out

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Nillumbik Shire Council will begin to phase out the use of single-use plastics at its facilities and events.

The plastics, which include straws, cutlery, plates, drink-stirrers, expanded polystyrene food and drink containers, and cotton bud sticks, will be phased out ahead of a Victorian Government ban on the items in February 2023.

Councillors unanimously supported the move at last week’s Council Meeting, which will also see Council seek opportunities to phase out other types of single-use plastics and educate the community on how they can do the same.

Deputy Mayor, Cr Frances Eyre, said Council had received a petition from more than 200 people in the community in 2019 calling for the change by 2021.

Cr Eyre said while COVID had impacted the implementation, Council had already been working on replacing single-use plastics with more sustainable options.

“We have worked with groups holding events at Council facilities to include waste reduction activities such as the Eltham Festival becoming balloon free, and supported trials of washable food and drink containers at the Eltham Jazz Festival and Come Together Festival,” Cr Eyre said.

“Council will get ahead of the State Government ban in its own operations and will work with the whole community – residents, businesses, schools and community groups – to do the same.”

Sugarloaf Ward Cr Ben Ramcharan said it was an exciting initiative for council to support.

“I’m really looking forward to going to a council event in the near future and seeing no plastic,” Cr Ramcharan said.

“It might take some time but it’s going to be really positive and means we are leading the way in supporting the Victorian Government’s plastic ban by taking those initial measures now and showing it can be done,” he said.

“We will be supporting the community and helping people to adjust to the new rules as they come in, that will include working with businesses and schools and really helping the community with that transition.”

Single use-plastics, while often used for only a few minutes, have a long-term impact on the environment. Globally, at least eight million tonnes plastic waste washes into our oceans and rivers each year. Plastic has remained the most common category of rubbish picked up on Clean Up Australia Day for the past 20 years.

For tips on reducing waste and recycling in Nillumbik go to our website.

It’s also Plastic Free July. For some great hints, tips and ideas on how to reduce the use of single-use plastics, go to the Plastic Free July website.

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