A PROGRAM to rid the Mornington Peninsula of single-use plastics is gathering momentum ahead of the state government ban coming into effect in February 2023.
Non-profit Boomerang Alliance, which is focussed on reducing and eliminating waste, is running the program on the peninsula, providing free advice and encouragement to help businesses phase out single-use plastics and reduce waste.
The alliance is working directly with food, retail and hospitality venues to drive change by targeting the use of straws, coffee cups and lids, takeaway containers and lids, food ware, cutlery, plates, cups water bottles and bags.
The peninsula program’s roll out began this year, with the cost covered by the federal government under the Plastic Free Beaches banner and Mornington Peninsula Shire Council.
The program also benefits the environment, directly targeting items that most commonly end up in local waterways.
Boomerang Alliance has also joined forces with the Australian Marine Conservation Society and Clean Up Australia to call for a national policy on coffee cups and lids, plastic coffee cups phased out by 2024 and a levy on all disposable coffee cups and lids.
Director of the Boomerang Alliance Jeff Angel said more than 1.8 billion disposable cups were used every year and virtually none are recycled; nor was there a practical way to achieve that.
“We need the environment ministers to agree on a pathway to make reusables, the primary option,” he said.
Pip Kiernan, Chair of Clean Up Australia said the desire for change was enormous.
“We need a national approach to make impactful changes to reduce waste to landfill and provide Australians with options that are kinder on the environment,” she said.
The peninsula program is helping venues switch to reusables and better single use options and is also assisting businesses to get ready for the 2023 ban.
In the next two years plastic coffee cups and lids will be subjected to new rules across the European Union and the UK, while some countries such as Germany will introduce laws that all cafes offer or sell reusable cups and lids. Other countries are planning a levy on disposable cups and lids. Boomerang Australia is asking Australian states to follow suit.
With seed funding from Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, the Green Caffeen program of using a ‘swap and go’ cup system is already in practice at several venues.
The alliance is calling for more venues to sign up to join the Plastic Free Places program via the Waste Wise Website wastewisepeninsula.org/join, for residents and visitors to bring cups or use of the Green Caffeen program, and to seek out Plastic Free Places venues for take away food.