More than 1.4 million single-use plastic items have been removed from 40 café and food outlets in just nine months through the Plastic Free Noosa community initiative.
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch said that the initiative, partly funded by the Palaszczuk Government, showed what could happen when local government, environmental groups, businesses and community members work together.
“Queensland has a problem with plastic and that is why we have allocated an additional $100,000 to Boomerang Alliance to enable them to share the successes achieved through Plastic Free Noosa with other communities in Queensland,” Minister Enoch said.
“About 75 per cent of the marine debris collected along the Queensland coastline is made up of plastic materials.
“Disturbingly, around 90 per cent of all seabirds have ingested plastic debris as have 30 per cent of turtles.
“But, we can come together to tackle plastic pollution and Plastic Free Noosa shows us this.
“An incredible amount of single-use plastic items such as coffee cups, straws, containers, water bottles, plastic bags and food utensils have been removed in a relatively short period of time.
“This number will continue to grow as more businesses join this movement.”
Manager of Boomerang Alliance’s Plastic Free Noosa Project, Kellie Lindsay said that theprogram taps into the enthusiasm of local businesses to reduce their plastic use.
“We work directly with businesses, as well as Council, suppliers, manufacturers, composters and waste operators to deliver real solutions to those businesses,” Ms Lindsay said.
“We make it easy for businesses to make the switch. There has been such a great response from the community and other businesses sectors wanting to get involved.
“Plastic Free Noosa shows that by working together, a community can change its plastic habits.
“We are currently extending the program into other sectors such as schools and hotels and hope that the plastic free community message can spread right across the state and make Queensland a cleaner and less littered place.”
Noosa Council Mayor, Tony Wellington advised that experts suggest that on current projections, there will be more plastic by weight in the ocean than fish by 2050.
In July 2017, Noosa Council passed a resolution to actively support Boomerang Alliance in their project to see Noosa become plastic free.
“Plainly this fits neatly with Noosa’s reputation for environmental awareness and sustainability,” Mr Wellington advised.
“Over the last year and a half, the project has gained significant momentum with many Noosa-based businesses and events opting to participate.
“The iconic Noosa Food & Wine Festival, as just one example, is now free of disposable plastics. And businesses like Aromas Noosa in Hastings Street are signing up to help lead the charge.
“If Noosa is to be a living laboratory of sustainability, then pioneering a plastic-free shire is a no brainer.”
Tourism Noosa Environment and Sustainability Manager, Juanita Bloomfield advised thatthe organisation had been working with Boomerang Alliance and Plastic Free Noosa for over a year, introducing them to their members and sharing their important sustainability messages.
“We also partnered with Plastic Free Noosa during the 2018 Noosa Food & Wine Festival to endeavour to be a plastic free event,” Ms Bloomfield said.
“Part of the partnership involved introducing a roving team of Waste Warriors who worked to sort rubbish into compostable and general waste and ensure best practices for the festival regarding its waste disposal.
“Through this process, 15-tonnes of discarded materials were sent to compost or recycling instead of landfill. Of this, 5.3 tonnes was food scraps and compostable food ware; which produced 480 kg of mulched compost.
“This initiative importantly also provided a positive benchmark for other events in Noosa that are wanting to reduce their environmental footprint and be eco-friendly.
“We look forward to continue partnering with Plastic Free Noosa in our efforts to help drive Noosa as a truly sustainable destination.”
Aromas Noosa which is a Plastic Free Champion, having phased out six everyday single-use plastic items said that sustainability is at the heart of everything they do.
“Becoming a member of the initiative was a simple choice,” said General Manager, Carlo Renzulli.
“Since joining we’ve made a range of significant changes across the business, and we’re thrilled to have been awarded Plastic Free Champion status.
“We look forward to working alongside the Plastic Free Noosa team and the wider community as we continue our efforts to reduce our use of single use plastics.”
For more information on the Queensland Government’s Plastic Pollution Reduction Plan and Plastic Free Noosa.
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch