SIZING UP CHANGES
BE READY FOR JULY 1 REFORMS:
THE biggest change coming to Cairns on July 1 is the plastic bag ban and plastic-free campaigners are saying the clampdown couldn’t come soon enough.
Retail stores across the region will fall in line with Queensland legislation banning plastic shopping bags under 35 microns from July 1.
However, Woolworths is going a step further by introducing the ban next Wednesday.
Committee for Waste Reduction president Lesley Van Staveren said it was a simple matter of breaking old habits.
“It’s one of those things that’s an easy swap. It’s definitely going to make a difference to our region, because those plastic bags all end up full of rubbish in landfill,” she said.
“You just need to go to creeks or parks and you can see plastic bags in what would other be a pristine area.
“Tourism is our biggest industry so we have to look after our environment.”
She said the next step would be for other types of plastic bags to be phased out.
“There are other options for the thin plastic bags you put fruit and veggies into and allowing people to bring in their own containers for fish or meat at the deli should be the next step in the plastic ban,” she said.
Councillor Brett Olds said it was a good first step but more could be done in the war against plastic waste.
“This is a good first step,” he said.
“I wish they’d get rid of all plastic but this will start to discourage people from using plastic bags.”
He said it was not an easy move for the State Government to bring the plastic bag ban legislation to fruition.
“When the state makes changes this big it’s not an easy process, so I hope that it’ll make a difference … If you go to the creek you could see 50 bags down there but in three months there might only be 25.
“Does that make a difference? Yes, it does. Every bag makes a difference.”
He said the true test of time would be how the ban impacted the way children used plastic bags.
“Our next generation is really having it drilled into them,” he said.
“Necessity is the mother of invention, so to see the innovation around the world in the next decade will be very interesting.”
Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Pip Close said the plastic bag ban would help draw attention to the need to reduce the use of single-use plastic.
“The tourism industry has thrown its weight behind the reduction of single-use plastic as it poses a threat to marine creatures on the Great Barrier Reef,” she said.
National Retail Association chief executive Dominique Lamb said a little bit of planning in the next fortnight would make a big difference for shoppers.
“Consumers will need to prepare by either bringing their own re-usable bags and should expect to pay a small fee of around 15 to 20¢ for a basic reusable option, through to as much as $5 for a locallymade jute or hessian bag,” she said.
“It’s up to all of us to do our bit. It’s a small change in our routine for a big impact on Queensland’s environment.”
NECESSITY IS THE MOTHER OF INVENTION, SO TO SEE THE INNOVATION AROUND THE WORLD IN THE NEXT DECADE WILL BE VERY INTERESTING COUNCILLOR BRETT OLDS
SERVICE: The owner of Black Ivy Boutique Deb Hayton with some
GOOD FIRST STEP: Customers are being encouraged to switch to environmentally-friendly shopping bags.