A TRIAL of Plastic Free Places will be held at Mt Martha from this month.
The trial over summer will put Mt Martha alongside Byron Bay, Noosa, Adelaide and Perth in what organisers say is a national program to reduce single-use plastic waste, especially on the foreshore.
Villages such as Mt Martha, with its hub of cafes, restaurants and small businesses directly across from Port Phillip unintentionally contributes to the quantity of litter finding its way onto the beaches and into the bay, organisers say.
The most common “culprits” include take-away food containers and cups, straws, plastic packaging and cigarette butts.
“When littered or discarded into landfill, plastic can take thousands of years to decompose, if at all,” spokesperson Birte Moliere said.
Plastic Free Peninsula is offering venues at Mt Martha free advice and support on providing environmentally friendly alternatives to handing out single-use plastics, he said.
The group’s logo has been designed by activist and graphic designer Josie Jones, who is also Mornington Peninsula Shire’s Citizen of the Year.
The program is supported by a range of groups, including Beach Patrol, Balcombe Estuary Reserves Group, Boomerang Alliance, Boomerang Bags, Dolphin Research Institute, Mt Martha Life Saving Club and RAW Travel.
“There’s lots of enthusiasm from the Mt Martha businesses who’ve been invited to join Plastic Free Places,” Mr Moliere said. “They share our concern about the impact of plastic on our environment, and the environment in general.”
Mornington Peninsula Shire’s Briars Ward councillors Bev Colomb, Rosie Clark and the mayor, Sam Hearn are said to be equally excited about the program and the enthusiasm within this community.
“I am proud of our community leading the way with this innovative program to reduce single use plastics,” Cr Hearn said.
“The initiative is a great example of community working hand-in-hand with council to protect our local environment.”