Plastics war could step up

A move to phase out single-use plastics in Macedon Ranges Shire Council’s operations could extend to some general community events.
The council will consider banning plastic cutlery and straws, cling wrap, balloons and all other single-use plastics at council sponsored or supported events in the Macedon Ranges.
Spearheading the movement, Councillor Natasha Gayfer said stepping up the war on plastics would send a strong message to the community about reducing the shire’s environmental footprint.
“Plastic pollution is just growing and it’s going to get worse. We need to find ways to work on it as a whole community,” Cr Gayfer said.
“We can start by making changes in our own organisation and from that we will learn a lot about how we can encourage people, and organisations we work, with to do something similar. It’s an opportunity for us to be leaders in this space and demonstrate publicly.”
The single-use plastics phase out would apply to public events held on council managed land, in council buildings and venues, and on roads managed by the council, if approved in 2019/20 council budget deliberations.
The move would also include an education campaign overseen by a waste education officer – a council role created especially for the project.
While eliminating single-use plastics is a concept many support, it would come with its challenges, according to council environment coordinator Michelle Wyatt’s December report to council.
Recurring single-use plastics across council operations include tree guards, soft packaging, bottled water, laminated posters and signs, personal protective wear, disposable syringes and cling wrap.
“While some items may be able to be replaced with an alternative product or process, others may not,” Ms Wyatt stated.
A ‘Towards zero single use plastics investigation and action plan’, including an audit of all single-use plastics across council, is estimated to cost $7000 if conducted by a consultant. Additional costs would include creation of a waste education officer role, along with community education associated costs.
The matter will now form part of the 2019/20 council budget deliberations.

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