8 September 2017
Single-use plastic bags and drink containers are among the worst polluters of our environment. Drink containers are estimated to contribute nearly a quarter of all litter collected in Queensland, while single-use plastic bags contribute to the death of hundreds of thousands of birds and sea mammals nationwide. Member for Glass House, Andrew Powell, said policies to reduce plastic bag and drink container waste are key aspects of the LNP’s grassroots environmental initiatives and he is encouraged to see the Labor Government follow the LNP’s lead and adopt a Queensland Bag Ban and Container Refund Scheme.
“When in government, the LNP introduced the Queensland Waste Avoidance and Resource Productivity Strategy (2014-2024), which identified plastic bags as the main priority for waste reduction. Plastic bags are persistent and toxic in the environment and every year Queenslanders use one billion plastic bags, many of which cause significant environmental damage because they take 1000 years to decompose,” Mr Powell said.
So called ‘biodegradable’ bags pose an even greater risk, because they break into smaller bits that resemble food for sea creatures. Nearly a third of sea turtle deaths in Moreton Bay are caused by ingestion of plastic bags and seventy percent of Loggerhead turtles in Queensland have ingested plastic,” he added.
Mr Powell said the bag ban will effect lightweight plastic shopping bags, including the biodegradable kind, which will no longer be supplied to the customer.
He said the Container Refund Scheme is similar to the model used in South Australia for 40 years, which has effectively cut down on littering. Most drink containers between 150ml and 3 litres will be eligible for a 10 cent refund and both schemes are set to be introduced on the 1 July 2018.
“Many constituents have reminisced to me the days when, as a kid, they could collect cans and make a dollar or two. Well, those days will be returning and I’m confident the community will be as excited as I am,” Mr Powell continued.
To promote public awareness of these upcoming changes, Mr Powell will be joined by the Boomerang Alliance for a community and business forum at the Glasshouse Mountains Sports Club on 19 October.
The forum will be an opportunity for local businesses and community organisations to learn how these schemes will work, how they will affect them and how they can participate. Of particular focus will be how local organisations could contribute to the container collection network and how the refund scheme can help with community fundraising.
Mr Powell will chair the event, which will include a presentation by the Boomerang Alliance and a Q&A to discuss issues and concerns about the new policies.
“Whilst the event is aimed at local businesses and community organisations there will be something for everyone so interested locals are welcome to come along. Further details will be available soon at www.andrewpowell.com.au,” Mr Powell said.
“Protecting our environment and ensuring all Queenslanders enjoy liveable communities is a key priority for the LNP and I am proud we led the way with these initiatives,” Mr Powell concluded.
Ends 8 September 2017