by Emma Sandery
I’m excited! Have you heard that the State Government is considering banning some single-use plastic items? And they want the public to have their say.
I would encourage you all to jump online, check out the discussion paper Turning the tide on single-use plastic products and take a few minutes to complete the quick online survey.
Let’s show that the public wants unnecessary and environmentally catastrophic single-use plastics gone for good.
BUT CONSULTATION CLOSES THIS FRIDAY (22 February 2019) SO WE NEED TO GET CRACKING!
This is a huge opportunity for all of us to help change the way we do things here in SA and build on our state’s reputation as a leader in reducing, reusing, recycling and managing our waste.
As a mum with young children, I am really concerned about the future of our environment and what kind of world they will inherit. After participating in Plastic Free July over the last few years, we have really changed how we shop, eat, and act when it comes to single-use plastics and try to avoid as much single-use plastics as we can. I know we are not alone. There is a real groundswell of community concern around our use of single-use plastics. It is also a huge problem that needs urgent action at all levels.
It is totally crazy that we use non-renewable resources (fossil fuels) that have taken millions of years to form to make plastic items that will remain in our environment for hundreds of years, but that we use for just minutes before discarding.
Living near the coast, everyday I see plastic litter headed for our beautiful beaches. Plastic straws, lolly wrappers, food packaging, coffee cups, water bottles, takeaway drink cups and lids all waiting for the next rain to wash them out to sea.
Here are a few scary facts from the discussion paper:
- The production of plastics from fossil feedstocks has a significant carbon impact that will become even more significant with the projected surge in consumption of plastics
- One million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute, while up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide every year
- Half of all plastic produced is designed to be used only once – and then thrown away
- It is estimated that 500 billion disposable coffee cups are produced globally each year
- At least 8 million tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean each year
- Australians use around 10 million straws a day
- If current trends continue, the ocean is expected to contain 1 tonne of plastic for every 3 tonnes of fish by 2025, and by 2050, more plastics than fish by weight
- Plastic is starting to enter the human food chain with plastic being detected in animals and humans around the world
When plastic enters our environment, it doesn’t go away. Instead it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces that end up entering our food chain.
This is a huge opportunity to push for big changes – take 5 minutes from your day and complete the quick online survey. Let’s make sure our voices are heard and help everyone in SA break up with single-use plastics. Let’s say goodbye to plastic bags, takeaway coffee cups, straws, polystyrene packaging, helium balloons, etc. and hello to cleaner, greener alternatives.
If you really want to influence things, I would also encourage you to complete a short, written submission. The discussion paper asks 13 questions. You can respond to some or all of them. Remember that you don’t need to be an expert to complete a submission – we all know enough to be able to respond. Submissions can be emailed or posted (BUT REMEMBER CONSULTATION CLOSES THIS FRIDAY 22 FEBRUARY 2019) – see the YourSay website for details.
Some things we need to get right if we want this move to succeed:
- The focus needs to be on avoiding and reusing as the first option; creating and expanding on a culture that embraces reusable items. This should include supporting the proposed Civil Liability (BYO Containers – Waste Avoidance) Amendment Bill 2018.
- Compostable single-use alternatives are a good second choice. However, these need products need to be clearly labelled so that everyone knows what they are and how to dispose of them correctly. We also need to have better access to green organics bins, so that compostable items can end up in the right place (at a commercial composting facility).
- All changes need to be supported by education, for the public and for businesses, so that we can all learn to do the right thing and make the right choices.
So once again, please take 5 minutes from your day and complete the quick online survey.
While you’re at it, they are also doing a review that is looking to improve SA’s container deposit scheme and are seeking public feedback on this as well (also closing this Friday 22 February 2019). Should we expand our 10c containers to include things like milk containers and wine bottles? Would you like to see the deposit amount increased? Provide your feedback on another quick online survey, or again, feel free to complete a proper written submission.