Aiming for a waste, plastic-free peninsula


A SINGLE-use plastic policy and Beyond Zero Waste Strategy 2030 are the focus of Mornington Peninsula Shire Council as it aims to stop sending waste directly to landfill by 2030 and phasing out “problematic” single-use plastics.

The shire says the plan complements its position as a “leader in best practice waste management for over a decade”.

“With the adopted policy and strategy in place we can look to an innovative and progressive future where waste is repurposed, recycled or reused and single-use plastics are eliminated.”

The mayor Cr Sam Hearn said there were “better choices [for consumers] than single-use plastics”.

“Often we opt for single use plastics out of habit, even though we know how bad they are for our precious environment. Mornington Peninsula Shire is changing that.

“As an organisation, we are phasing out the use of single-use plastics in our offices, halls, sporting clubs, events and shire-managed land.”

The shire’s 10-year plan to send zero waste to landfill includes allowing households to add food scraps to green waste bins, receive rebates on reusable nappies, discounts on composting systems and incentives to reduce waste.

Under the strategy it will place more recycling bins in public spaces, provide community drop-off hubs for textiles and small electrical items, and set up a waste innovation fund to support communities and businesses to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Residual waste will be sent to an alternative waste treatment centre to be turned into energy.

Cr Simon Brooks said: “Waste that can’t be reused, repaired or recycled will be sent to an alternative waste processing facility. The shire will offset this by using the same weight of recycled material in roads, footpaths and construction.”

The plastic and zero waste strategy complements the Boomerang Alliance’s Plastic Free Places trial which earlier this year signed up 17 Mount Martha venues to its program which aims to ban plastic packaging.

Over the past three months the businesses collectively eliminated a “staggering” 30,436 single use plastic takeaway items (not counting plastic bags) in a joint effort to reduce waste and litter, program coordinator Birte Moliere said.

She said most single-use plastic was “not recycled and ends up in landfill or as litter along our beaches, waterways and eventually in the bay”.

“Plastic doesn’t disappear and it can take over 1000 years to break up into smaller and smaller pieces,” she said.

“In Australia alone, 2.7 million disposable coffee cups end up in landfill every day. That’s just one of the items the program is tackling.”

“We’re setting a real example for how business can thrive and look after the environment at the same time. There has been lots of enthusiasm in the community with people sharing our concern about the impact of waste and showing a preference for plastic free options,” Ms Moliere said.

The program trial has been supported by groups, including the shire, Safety Beach Dromana Beach Patrol, Balcombe Estuary Reserves Group, Boomerang Alliance, Boomerang Bags, Dolphin Research Institute, Mount Martha Life Saving Club and RAW Travel.

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 6 October 2020


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