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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 18 September 2018) . . Page.. 3708 ..


The plastic we create today will outlive our grandchildren’s grandchildren. It often ends up in Canberra’s waterways, and floats around in our environment as litter. I should say that plastic is not always the enemy. It can help to protect food and reduce food waste, and it can help to keep medical equipment clean and free from germs. But we should always be looking for ways to avoid the generation of waste as a priority, and then to reduce and recycle in line with the waste management hierarchy.

In the ACT these objectives are captured by our waste management strategy, which outlines our waste management targets of achieving up to 90 per cent of waste being diverted from landfill by 2025, and a carbon neutral waste sector by 2020. There is no question that the ACT government takes sustainability and resource management very seriously. This is even more important as we recognise the benefits of transitioning to a more circular economy, where the value of resources is maintained for as long as possible and resources move from “cradle to cradle”, rather than “cradle to grave”.

All Canberrans can take personal steps to mindfully reduce plastic consumption in general, and single-use plastic in particular, and ensure that plastics are recycled where appropriate. Most rigid plastics can be recycled in our yellow-lid bins, at home or out in the community. Soft or film plastics cannot be processed through our recycling systems here in the ACT, but they can be recycled at most major supermarkets.

To support Canberrans, the territory delivers ongoing education about reducing, reusing and recycling of resources. All ACT residents and local schoolkids are welcome to visit the recycling discovery hub at the Hume Materials Recovery Facility to see how Canberra manages recycling. The hub has recently been upgraded and has received more than 1,200 visitors who have taken a tour since its relaunch in April.

The recent implementation of the ACT’s container deposit scheme is another example of how the territory facilitates better plastic recycling behaviours. The ACT CDS supports individuals and community groups to reduce litter and actively participate in plastic recycling by placing a value on many single-use drink containers. As of last week we have collected more than two million containers. This demonstrates that here in the ACT we are keen to keep plastic away from landfill, and that is the right thing to do.

In the ACT we have been ahead of the curve when it comes to looking at ways to reduce single-use plastic. I am very proud that in 2011 the ACT was the third jurisdiction in Australia to implement a ban on certain types of single-use plastic bags. This is a trend that has continued. In fact New South Wales remains the only jurisdiction not to commit to a ban.

This year we also introduced a straws suck campaign, which aims to help break our plastic straw habit, while recognising that there are some in our community who still need straws for medical reasons. Within the territory government, we are looking at ways to reduce our own single-use plastic waste. For example, the Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate has formed an internal soft plastics working group to explore how we can support plastic recycling within our own operations. It may be


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