Plan revealed to make CQ ‘plastic free’
The State Government has announced a bold plan to make Central Queensland a "plastic free" region in the future.
Minister for the Environment and Great Barrier Reef Meaghan Scanlon addressed a press conference at the Yeppoon Landfill on April 16, announcing the initiative, saying there had been strong results in other regions that had tried it.
"Today I was really happy to announce the government, partnering with the Boomerang Alliance and of course the Livingstone Shire Council and the Rockhampton Regional Council to try and make Central Queensland plastic-free," Ms Scanlon said.
"This is an initiative we've rolled out in other regions and essentially what it does is it provides a staff member full-time to provide that one-on-one advice to retailers and businesses to allow them to transition much more easily."
Boomerang Alliance has previously run a plastic-free project at Noosa, and is currently running them in Cairns and Townsville.
The Alliance's website says its goals are to show the community how to switch from single-use plastics and demonstrate to governments that people are willing to make the switch.
Ms Scanlon said plastic-free programs had been a success in other regions and she was hoping that would also be so in Central Queensland.
She said the Containers for Change program was going extremely well and was an opportunity for people and community groups to make money.
"Unfortunately, we know a lot of containers were ending up in our oceans, that's incredibly problematic," she said.
During her work on the last Clean Up Australia Day on the Gold Coast, she said she didn't see many plastic bottles in there this time.
The Queensland Government already plans to ban single-use plastics statewide from September 1.
This means disposable straws, cutlery, stirrers, plates, and clamshell containers will need to be made of different materials from then.
Livingstone Shire's Water, Waste Management and Environment councillor Andrea Friend said she thought they were heading in the right direction going plastic-free.
She said she had been discussing it since she first became a councillor last April, and a plastic-free motion to the council had recently passed unanimously.
"It's finding out the best way forward, how to undertake this, and how to educate the public on the best way they can be plastic free," Cr Friend said.
"I believe that the movements are really gaining pace now, especially with the youth of Livingstone Shire."
She said it was of utmost importance to address plastic issues in the shire and educate people not to litter in Fig Tree Creek, which runs to the Great Barrier Reef.
Cr Friend is encouraging people to go plastic free, saying they had nothing to lose.
"And if you still don't like it then the choice is yours," she said.
"The whole point is, it is to keep the majority of the materials out of the landfill."