Hobart could officially become the first capital city in Australia to ban all single-use plastics – including takeaway food containers, straws, coffee cups, and plastic lids!
In early March, City of Hobart councilors voted in favour of a by-law to support the ban, and proposed imposing fines for those who do not comply.
If successful, the ban would come into effect late this year or early 2020, following the outcome of a 21-day public consultation.
The proposed by-law would target the use of petroleum-based plastics such as cups, lids, containers, straws, utensils, and condiment packets.
Councillor Bill Harvey, who led the motion, says the by-law could have a large impact on public perception and could enact positive change across Australia.
“What that says is that we’re serious about leading by example and we’re a council that takes the initiative, that makes bold decisions and this is one of those decisions that will have impacts for councils across Australia,” he said.
“This will add to the way people perceive Hobart across the world as a city that cares about the environment and its people”.
Not all are welcoming the ban
While the proposed ban is expected to better protect our environment – opponents are arguing it would be an unfair blow to small businesses.
Robert Mallett, of the Tasmanian Small Business Council, says local business were not consulted before the vote, and believes some may struggle to operate under a ban.
While he is not personally against the ban of single-use plastics, Mr Mallet expressed concerns over small businesses being able to afford biodegradable packaging.
“I don’t think it will be too difficult to transition, but it would definitely be more costly which then puts Hobart business at a price disadvantage…” he said.
Phillip Cocker, Environment Tasmania Director, believes businesses will cope with any changes, stating that the proposed ban is a small but significant step towards environmental sustainability for Hobart.
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8 million tonnes of plastic enter the oceans every year. That's the equivalent of five grocery bags full of plastic on every 30 centimetres of every nation's coastline around the globe. We're calling for global leaders to take action against the plastic crisis before it’s too late. We need a legally binding global agreement to stop marine plastic pollution. Sign the petition now and help #StopPlasticPollution – link in today’s story!
Plastic bag ban success
Since the nationwide ban of single-use plastic bags we have already seen an incredible decline in the number of plastics introduced into Australia’s waterways and natural areas.
According to the National Retail Association, the ban of single-use plastic bags has already seen an 80 per cent drop in the bag consumption nationwide. Some retailers are reporting reductions as high as 90 per cent!