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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 22 August 2018) . . Page.. 3387 ..

Waste—plastic waste reduction

MS ORR (Yerrabi) (10.42): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes that:

(a) in the hierarchy of waste, avoidance is the best form of waste minimisation;

(b) single use plastic generates a significant amount of waste per year;

(c) that the waste generated from single use plastic is slow to degrade and often harmful to the environment;

(d) recyclable plastic often ends up in the general waste stream and options for the recycling of single use soft plastics are limited;

(e) the ACT banned single use plastic bags on 1 November 2011, and a review in 2014 reported that 65 percent of Canberra grocery shoppers supported the ban;

(f) a further review of the ACT’s plastic bag ban was commissioned in January 2018;

(g) the Government’s commitment to reducing waste as articulated through the Waste Feasibility Study and its Roadmap; and

(h) public support for initiatives such as the single use plastic bag ban, the “Straws Suck” campaign and the container deposit scheme demonstrate a willingness for behavioural change that lead to a reduction in the generation and increase in recycling of single use plastic waste; and

(2) calls on the ACT Government to:

(a) update the Assembly on the status of the latest review into the ACT’s plastic bag ban by the last sitting week of 2018; and

(b) investigate further opportunities that will reduce the use of single use plastic throughout the ACT, so that less waste is generated.

We often see images of the incomprehensible impact plastic is having on wildlife, particularly in our oceans: a sea bird tangled in a shopping bag, a dolphin caught in an old fishing net, a turtle with its stomach full of plastic. In 2010 eight million tonnes of plastic went into the ocean. This in itself is a terrifying concern.

But when we consider that every 11 years the amount of plastic produced doubles—and the durability of plastic means it can take up to 600 years to break down in our oceans or landfill—we realise that the amount of plastic will grow exponentially year on year. Based on this level of production between 2017 and 2028, we are expected to produce as much plastic as we did between the 1950s and now.

It is not just our oceans feeling the devastating impacts of plastic pollution. Our waterways, our parks, our streets and our neighbourhoods all suffer from litter and rubbish, largely made up of plastic material. Chip packets, bottles and bags and packaging clutter up our drains and pollute our green spaces. There is a very real and

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