3 September, 2021
Moving on without single-use plastic items
GLAMORGAN VALE resident Lynne Howard has warmly welcomed the recently introduced ban on single-use plastic items across Queensland, as she encourages people to use plastic-free options for the sake of the environment.
The ban came into effect on September 1, with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk saying the ban would help reduce single-use plastic pollution by 20 per cent over the next two years.
The ban covers single-use plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates and unenclosed bowls, as well as single-use takeaway containers and cups made from expanded polystyrene.
Consequently, these items will stop being supplied in Queensland, including items provided free with purchased meals or sold in packets as party supplies.
“There’s a plastic-free substitute for just about everything,” Mrs Howard said.
“We’re the consumers. We can make the change.
“Everyone says they’re only one person, but every bit helps.”
A mother of three and a grandmother of two, Mrs Howard said she sought to try to “make the world a better place for our kids, grandkids, our wildlife and each other”.
Mrs Howard runs an online store called The Vale Eco Packs, which involves selling gift packs that help people use non-plastic items.
“I think our overuse of plastics is just ridiculous,” she said.
“Here in this part of Somerset we don’t have a roadside recycling service.
“I was throwing everything in the bin, and I realised it wasn’t good for the environment.
“It made me realise that things needed to change.”
The first step for Mrs Howard in her quest to preserve the environment was to use bamboo toothbrushes and reusable bags.
“Everything I use is reusable, compostable or plastic free,” she said.
Mrs Howard referred to other options such as plastic-free dental floss, straws made from bamboo, silicon or stainless steel, and the use of beeswax wrap instead of Cling Wrap and Glad Wrap.
Mrs Howard also recommended buying loose carrots, loose potatoes and loose broccoli while avoiding packaged bags.
Without recycling bins in various parts of the Somerset region, Mrs Howard recommended using the Containers for Change program, and REDCycle at Woolworths and Coles for all soft plastic recycling.
Mrs Howard warned that plastic was a major pollution problem, saying that plastic leaked toxins into the ground, especially in the rain and the sun.
“Toxins is a really big thing that a lot of people don’t even realise,” she said.
“Also wildlife can eat the plastic or get tangled up in it, and animals can die from ingesting plastics.
“Plastic also breaks down into micro plastics, even minuscule amounts.”
Mrs Howard warned that plastic on the roadside and paddocks was a threat to cattle, and could lead to expensive vet bills for farmers.
Mrs Howard stressed that education was the key, as she realised that people “do get stuck in habits” including use of plastics.
“Information is readily available but if you don’t look for it, you don’t see it,” she said.
Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said the government, National Retail Association and Boomerang Alliance would continue an initial education-first approach, and would work with organisations to ensure they understood the ban and their obligations.
“Whenever this is genuinely the case, DES will continue an ‘engagement and education-first approach’ to compliance throughout September,” Ms Scanlon said.
DES will review this approach after September, and businesses and community groups are encouraged to continue engaging with the National Retail Association and Boomerang Alliance to make sure they understand their obligations and requirements under the ban.
Information, resources and signage for businesses are available at www.qldplasticsban.com.au.
The Vale Eco Packs can be found at www.thevaleecopacks.com.au.
PLASTIC FACTS with Lynne Howard:
· Every plastic toothbrush every person has ever used still exists somewhere;
· Experts predict that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish;
· Humans eat over 18kg of plastic in their lifetime due to microplastics contaminating our food;
· 1 million marine animals are killed by plastic pollution every year.
PLASTIC-FREE TIPS with Lynne Howard:
· Straws made from silicon, bamboo or stainless steel;
· Bamboo toothbrushes;
· Pegs made of stainless steel or bamboo;
· Reusable bags;
· Plastic-free dental floss;
· Beeswax wraps instead of Cling Wrap and Glad Wrap;
· Compostable bin liners;
· Shampoo bars instead of shampoo in plastic bottles;
· Cotton masks instead of disposable masks.