As part of National Recycling Week, Monday, 13 November to Sunday, 19 November, Council is launching a community-supported ‘Plastic Bag Free Hawkesbury’ campaign which aims to reduce the amount of plastic bags used in our local area.
Across Australia each year up to six billion plastic bags are used, which is more than 15 million bags per day. The major concern is that each year up to 80 million of these plastic bags used in Australia end up as litter, entering our natural environment including our rivers and oceans, and having a devastating impact on marine life. CSIRO already reports that 33% of sea turtles and 50% of seabirds have ingested plastic. It is also predicted that by 2050 there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish (by weight).
The Mayor of the Hawkesbury, Councillor Mary Lyons-Buckett recently met students from Windsor Public School who have written letters to her and other politicians outlining why plastic bags are such a significant problem.
“Hawkesbury City Council and our community have raised concerns about single use plastic bags and their impact on our local environment, including the impact on our beautiful river and unique wildlife,” Mayor Lyons-Buckett said.
The Mayor also visited Kurrajong Public School last week to listen to the students’ concerns about the negative environmental impacts of plastic bags. Kurrajong Public School students have been involved in Boomerang Bags and have also surveyed local businesses in Kurrajong urging them to no longer use plastic bags.
“Already there has been an amazing level of community action by local residents including ‘Boomerang Bags’, which is a group made up of dedicated members who create reusable bags from disused materials and then provide them to shoppers at events such as the
Richmond Saturday Markets,” Mayor Lyons-Buckett said.
“If you’d like to help Boomerang Bags at one of their bag making days, please search on Facebook for Boomerang Bags Hawkesbury and Boomerang Bags Kurrajong.
“As well as schools, Council staff and I have also visited local businesses in Kurrajong and they are also contacting businesses in the other townships and villages,” she said.
“If Council and our local community members work together to reduce single use plastic bag use, then it will be a big improvement for our local environment.”
Council is encouraging all residents to take individual action:
Take your reusable bags when you go shopping
Ask your local shops whether they would consider providing paper bags or reusable bags instead of plastic bags
Avoid products in plastic packaging
If you have a collection of plastic shopping bags at home, take them to a plastic recycling bin at Coles supermarkets
If you currently use your plastic bags as bin liners, consider alternatives: place rubbish directly into your wheelie bin and the simply rinse your bin out once a week, you can also use newspaper and throw this away when the bin is full.
Other local schools that would like to address this issue are encouraged to contact Council’s Waste Education Officer by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 4560 4566, as Council would like to highlight the efforts of our local students.
Helpful tips and more information
Plastic Bag Recycling Bins at Coles
Plastic bags can be returned to Coles to a plastic bags recycling bin. This free program is made possible through RedCycle, which has worked with Coles Supermarkets to set up collection bins in stores across most of metro-Australia. The plastic is made into furniture for schools and kindergartens among other things. For a list of locations visit www.redcycle.net.au/where-to- redcycle
Petition to Ban Single Use Plastic Bags
Channel Ten’s The Project has an online petition arguing for a ban on single use plastic bags in NSW, Victoria and WA. It currently has over 170,000 signatures. If you would like to sign this petition visit https://www.change.org/p/ban-plastic- bags-across- nsw-victoria- and-wa
Update: Following the overwhelming support for this petition, WA and Victoria have both announced they will place a ban on single use plastic bags. NSW is now the only state or territory in Australia without any ban on plastic bags.
Go Plastic Free
Take the pledge to not use single use plastics. Visit https://www.plasticfreejuly.org