The ACT Government made a commitment earlier this month to minimising the consumption of single-use plasTtics, announcing they will establish a strategy that could potentially see many products banned.
ACT City Services Minister Chris Steel told the Legislative Assembly that single-use plastics, including but not limited to lightweight plastic bags, are an issue of both public and environmental concern.
“The community has a heightened awareness of the global environmental impact of single-use plastics.
“Items like plastic cutlery, straws, coffee stirrers and plastic-lined takeaway coffee cups are used for a matter of moments before being discarded – potentially releasing toxins and damaging the environment as they decay,” he said.
Minister Steel said they will consult Canberrans as they develop a strategy to curb the consumption of single-use plastics.
“I want the ACT community, businesses and industries to tell us how the ACT should address single-use plastics as well.
“We will consult with the community on banning these products or taking alternative regulatory or other measures.”
He said the ACT Government will start the process by launching an information paper on moving beyond single-use plastics in the coming months.
Owner of Brindabella Café Skye Palmer told Canberra Weekly she supported policy that would reduce plastic packaging consumption.
“From a business perspective, we’ll have to investigate better takeaway options, but at the same time it would be good for customers to come on board too.”
Ms Palmer introduced a disposable takeaway coffee cup surcharge at the café in 2004, and said she hasn’t looked back.
“When I first introduced it, no one else was doing it … We introduced it and trialled it for three months and I got nothing but positive feedback,” she said.
“These days we’re down to about 10% takeaway (coffees), and that’s been led by customers participating.”
She said a single-use plastis ban was something the food service industry would adapt to.
“There may be a transitional stage that would be a bit messy but I think it will work … Unfortunately, environmentally-friendly things do cost a fair bit more.
“It’s about establishing that mindset of thinking I’ll always have a takeaway container at work.”
Opposition Leader Alistair Coe said a complete ban on single-use plastics would be unworkable.
“Given there are significant technological advances that are taking place that could lead to almost 100% of plastics being recyclable, we should not be in a rush to ban the use of plastics.”