Globally 95% of all plastic packaging is used once and then wasted, often as litter. In its 2014 Marine Debris report in Australia, the CSIRO stated that, ‘two thirds of the marine debris found along our coastline is plastic, most from local sources.’
but...Australia is changing
In Australia, most state governments are moving to reduce plastic litter through the introduction of Container Refund Schemes and bans on plastic bags. Western Australia banned lightweight plastic bags in July 2018 and will introduce a refund scheme in 2020. These measures will dramatically reduce plastic litter and are recognised as good first steps in addressing plastic pollution of our environment.
the next step
The next step is to address the many other forms of disposable plastics. The fact is that plastic litter in the environment is an eyesore, a pollutant, a threat to wildlife and, according to recent reports, a potential threat to human health. Plastic litter in the environment is so destructive that we need to do more than wait for the slow wheels of the legislative arm to turn.
Many individuals and businesses have become aware of the plastic pollution problem and are changing habits and practices. However, what we lack are whole communities taking control of their plastic footprint, with a focus on long lasting solutions. The most powerful actions begin with the individual, extend to the community and then to our politicians. If we want to see wide scale change, we need to create a culture of community action, and the best time to start is right now.
empowering communities to make a difference
WA Plastic Free is a Perth-based project under the Boomerang Alliance's Plastic Free Places program, which focuses on the next step to achieving this wide scale change. The goal of the program is to inspire, assist and empower communities to reduce their use of disposable, single use plastics. Other projects also occur in Noosa, Qld (pilot community) and Byron Bay, NSW.
These communities are playing a vital role in the next stage towards fighting against plastic pollution. They are leading the way in showing what can be achieved when a community works together towards a single goal - and are empowering other communities to follow.
WA Plastic Free
WA Plastic Free is the pilot project for Western Australia and will initially be centered in the Town of Bassendean, Perth. Our goal is to reduce single-use plastic packaging by engaging food outlets, markets, and events in Perth to switch to better alternatives . Our main focus is on reducing six single-use plastic items which represent the most problematic and prolific sources of the litter stream; water bottles, straws, coffee cups/lids, takeaway containers, foodware (cutlery, plates, cups etc) and plastic bags. To learn more about how we are achieving this, check out the WA Plastic Free Plan.