QLD Government Puts Plastic Bag Ban & CDS on Agenda

Update from Tony Hutchinson – Boomerang Alliance 12/06/2015

As you may have heard the Queensland Government this week announced that they are considering banning plastic bags (and other problematic packaging). The decision comes on top of the announcement last month that they would investigate a container deposits (cash for containers) scheme for Queensland.

Steven Miles, Queensland Environment Minister made the announcement at a media conference on the Queens Birthday long weekend. As the representative of Boomerang Alliance and Wildlife Queensland, he invited me to attend the announcement and back his plans. Naturally I was very happy to do so.

We now have a huge opportunity in Queensland to have have both unnecessary plastic packaging phased out and beverage containers subject to a redeemable deposit.

Both measures will have a significant impact on litter and reduce the threat to the environment and wildlife. It’s great news and thanks to all of you who have supported this campaign.

If you feel like thanking the Minister (and politicians always like their actions acknowledged) you can send a short email to environment@ministerial.qld.gov.au

We have no figures for how many plastic packaging items are used in Queensland but we do know that over 800 million bags are used. We also estimate, from available data, that over 200,000 separate pieces of plastic are discarded into the environment in Queensland -every day!

Phasing out unnecessary plastic items will slash that figure.

We know from interstate and international experience that a container deposit scheme will dramatically reduce container litter and increase recycling. South Australia has both a plastic bag ban and a container deposit scheme. Beverage container recycling in SA is about 85% compared to Queensland which is less that 40%-and thats being kind. According to the CSIRO, beverage container litter in Queensland is three times that of South Australia.

We also know that a deposit scheme provides a huge economic stimulus for recycling and a fundraising boost to community organisations and individuals who wish to collect cans and bottles and redeem the deposit. The Scout Movement in SA, for instance, operate collection and clean up services that generate $44 million in revenue every year.

After the Environment Minister made his announcement, John-Paul Langbroek, Deputy Leader of the LNP, told the media that the government should be focussing on jobs not reducing pollution! Such a stupid remark to make. We need the LNP to get behind these measures not attack them. Littering is not a major job creator but collecting and recycling used beverage containers is. This is a good example of where cleaning up the environment and job creation go have in hand.

BTW John-Paul Langbroek’s email is Surfers.Paradise@parliament.qld.gov.au – just in case you want to let him know what you think. I used the image at the top to demonstrate what is NOT a surfers paradise.

Litter and plastic pollution will be a major talking point in Queensland this year. The Government will be asking the community what they think later this year. Its going to be up to those of us who care for the environment and wildlife to keep the pressure up and make sure that measures such as banning plastic packaging and container deposit are introduced, because they are vital for keeping our environment healthy.

Thanks for all your support. We are winning and We are making a difference.

Toby Hutcheon
Boomerang Alliance
Wildlife Queensland

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