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State Government should build on single-use plastics by-law

5 Mar 2019

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Environment spokesperson

The momentous decision by Hobart City Council to pass a by-law that will phase-out and then end single-use takeaway plastics is widely supported in the community and welcome news for the marine environment. It could be a trifecta for the environment if the State Government supported this initiative by introducing the long-awaited Container Deposit Scheme and Waste Levy.

Hobart City Council’s by-law is the result of years of work by Greens’ councillors and local community groups working to remove plastic rubbish from the environment. Plastic pollution is accumulating in birds, fish and waterways at increasing and alarming levels. Plastics’ harmful impacts on marine systems, and ultimately on human health, is well-established.

The Hodgman Government has sat on its government advisory committee’s recommendation to introduce a state-based waste levy since 2014. All Tasmanian councils supported the introduction of a waste levy in 2014, and with Glenorchy Council only one year away from reaching its tip capacity it has become increasingly urgent to implement.

Tasmania is one of two states yet to introduce a container deposit scheme, which more than 90% of Tasmanians supported as long ago as 2011. The Minister for the Environment, Elise Archer, has been stalling on releasing a state waste strategy, including the government’s timeframe for action on a container deposit scheme, since the Liberals took office in 2014.

Removing plastics from the environment and reducing the amount going to landfill is not only good for marine and human health, it is essential for the clean green image that underpins our state’s economic prosperity.

After five years in government, and with all the evidence of community support and economic benefit she needs, Minister Archer should build on the pollution-reduction by-law of Hobart Council and announce a state-based waste levy and container deposit scheme.