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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 1 August 2019) . . Page.. 2615 ..

Environment—sustainability initiatives

MS ORR: My question is to the Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability. Minister, could you please update the Assembly on the implementation strategy for a re-usable coffee cup zone trial in Gungahlin, and how businesses such as Atlas, Frankies at Forde and Sunday in Canberra have been consulted?

MR RATTENBURY: Members will recall that the Assembly recently passed a motion, sponsored by Ms Orr, seeking some developments in this space. Since that time my directorate, the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate, has been undertaking research, particularly including with Marrickville Council, to gain an understanding of how a coffee cup scheme could work in the ACT. We have been working particularly with Marrickville Council because they have completed a program design and have procured a contractor, with their scheme commencing on 30 July, just a couple of days ago. We are taking the opportunity to use the work they have already done to give us some insights into how this might work in Canberra.

Marrickville have been very generous. They have shared valuable knowledge with us on the range of coffee cup schemes currently available in the market. Our research has revealed that there are a number of service providers, I suppose you would call them—businesses—that have schemes available, obviously at a particular price, and we are looking at how suitable they might be for the ACT, looking at the lessons learned by Marrickville in particular but also other jurisdictions around Australia.

The sorts of questions that come up in this research are about the cost model, and whether there should be no up-front cost or subscriptions for businesses and/or patrons. There is the ability to return the cup to any participating business Canberra-wide or potentially right across the region, and how far geographically we would spread the scheme. There is the ability to top up the initial allocation of coffee cups to a business if they run low, although the experience has been that most people have continued to use their cups and there has not been a lot of leakage from the system as such. These are the sorts of issues that EPSDD have been working on, and we hope to be able to have further updates on the potential for a scheme in the ACT very shortly.

MS ORR: Minister, what other initiatives such as the straws suck campaign are currently in place to help businesses cut down on plastic and single-use items?

MR RATTENBURY: This part of the directorate has been quite busy. The straws suck campaign was launched in May 2018. It encourages Canberra businesses and patrons to rethink their use of single-use plastic straws and reduce the ACT’s contribution to the 10 million plastic straws that are estimated to be used in Australia every single day. This is a product that we think we can replace and we encourage people to think whether they really need them.

There are currently 77 businesses and schools in the ACT signed up to the campaign, which I think is a great start. Community members can also sign up to this pledge as part of their Actsmart online eco challenge, also taking that piece of individual action.

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