Council recommits to eliminating single use plastics

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Inner West Council has renewed its commitment to eliminating single use plastics at Council events and facilities.

Council considered the reduction of single use plastics at the Council Meeting of 11 September.

Single use plastics such as plastic bags, straws, drink bottles, plates and cutlery make up a large percentage of rubbish along the Australian coast line, and can have devastating impacts on marine wildlife.

Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne said that the move is in line with Council’s commitment to becoming a leader in environment and sustainability.

“Council has already come a long way in the battle against single use plastics, but we can always do more to lead by example and encourage our community to reduce their impact on our environment,” he said.

Inner West Councillor Louise Steer, who moved the motion to reduce single use plastics, said that 3.5 million tonnes of plastics were used in Australia in 16-17, with only 12% of that recycled.

“Single use plastics have become one of the biggest environmental challenges facing Australia, polluting waterways and threatening the health and safety of native flora and fauna,” she said.

“It’s estimated that a single plastic bag can take up to 1000 years to break down, and can cause untold damage along the way.”

Not only do larger bags kill marine animals by choking or causing intestinal blockages, they will fragment into microplastics – which look a lot like food to marine animals and are being found in increasingly larger concentration in the digestive system of hundreds of species, many of which humans eat. Eventually they will degrade further into nanoplastics, which measure less than 100 billionths of a metre and can penetrate cells and move into tissues and organs.

With this motion, Council has recommitted to its existing ban on single use plastics at its major community event program. The resolution is also in line with other events management policies including the large events in parks by external parties.

Officers will advise event organisers for events in the Inner West council area that they should not use single use plastics in their events.

Plastic Use

  • It is estimated people buy one million plastic bottles every minute.
  • 4 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year.
  • Half a million plastic straws are used worldwide every day.
  • 500 billion disposable cups are used every year.
  • Plastic bags take up to 1,000 years to break down.

Sources: 2016-2017 Australian Plastic Recycling Survey and Earth Day 2018.

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Page last updated: 14 Dec 2018