Kicking plastics pollution to the kerb

Members of the public are being invited to have their say on which plastic items the NSW Government should target to help minimise harm to the environment and human health as part of a NSW Government initiative.

Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch with Curby soft plastics recovery bag.

24 January 2024


A DISCUSSION PAPER, entitled 'Plastics: Next Steps', is open until 4 February 2024, and identifies and addresses items and materials that are frequently littered or released as microplastics into the environment; contain harmful chemical additives; or are regulated or proposed to be in other states and territories.


Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch said there are innumerable items containing plastic that are problematic in the community.


“Many of the seemingly innocuous items we take for granted in our homes and everyday lives – such as lollipop sticks, bread tags and heavyweight plastic shopping bags – end up in our environment. Often they don’t have to be there in the first place. Many problematic products could be redesigned, or perhaps phased out. In fact, plastic is so prolific that we’re eating it, we’re breathing it and we’re drinking it," said Ms Tesch.


“Takeaway food and beverage packaging are some of the most-littered plastic items, making up 32 per cent of the NSW litter stream. The 'Next Steps' paper proposes to phase out the supply of some items and use suitable alternatives.


“So we’re actively encouraging industry, businesses and the community actively get behind the NSW Government’s discussion paper in its bid to reduce plastic litter by 30 percent by 2025, as well as curb the impact of microplastics and align with what’s happening across other states and territories.


“New South Wales alone generates 800,000 tonnes of plastic waste each year and only 12 per cent of it is recycled. And once thrown away, this waste doesn’t simply disappear.


“Plastics are an important part of many products we rely on, but not all plastics are essential. Often, they are produced in unsustainable ways to be used only once and discarded.


“I am encouraging Coastie businesses, groups and individuals to put pen to paper on the future of plastics and make a real difference to leave the environment in a better place for everyone.”


The discussion paper, 'Plastics: Next Steps', is available here. All feedback will inform further actions to tackle problematic and unnecessary plastics.


Central Coast households keeping soft plastics out of landfill


Approximately 16,000 Central Coast households are already taking simple steps towards reducing soft plastics in the environment by participating in a program called CurbCycle.


The program, available via the Curby website and app, guides and rewards the community for recycling targeted materials such as soft plastics by using their existing yellow-lid recycle bin.


This program requires registered households to collect their soft plastics in a separate plastic bag, attaching a special, supplied ‘CurbyTag’ on the bag and placing it inside their yellow kerbside bin.


“Placing a special CurbyTag on any shopping bag and putting it into their yellow-lid recycling bin, enables soft plastics to be collected off the line by pickers at Somersby’s Material Recovery Facility – a facility that’s run by Curby's partner IQ Renew,” says Gordon Ewart from CurbCycle.


Ewart suggests there should be more being done to encourage members of the community to contain soft plastics.


“We view soft plastics as particularly concerning, given that it becomes windblown litter and escapes into marine environments more quickly than other forms of plastics. Under the current waste and recycling systems, even if soft plastics are placed into the red bin it can become loose and quickly escape into the environment. That is why Curby has focused on a program that guides and motivates householders to place the soft plastics in a collection bag at home to contain soft plastics before it can become an environmental hazard," Ewart said.


“We are continuing to develop the Curby platform with a view of providing households prizes to reward this behaviour from home and are seeking to have this in place within the next 12 months subject to the support of Government and product stewards.


“It’s our mission to enable all Australians to increase recycling in a secure, fun and transparent way."


Further information about CurbCycle can be found here: Soft Plastics Recycling - Central Coast Council.

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