Council active in war against plastic

24 Jul 2018

Newcastle City Council resolved last year to write to the New South Wales and Australian Governments to advocate for a ban on single-use plastics bags.

In the same notice of motion, Council pledged to formalise a policy to ensure that all Council-managed enterprises, activities and events on our land sought to eliminate the use of disposable plastic items.

Newcastle City Council widely supports efforts to reduce the use of single-use plastics, such as straws, bags, water bottles and helium balloons, and we are researching the best ways that Council can contribute.

This includes investigating:

  • Implications for Council facilities, such as swimming pools, and Council-leased premises, such as the beach kiosks -- where water, sports drinks and soft drinks are sold in plastic bottles, and plastic straws, cutlery and other items are routinely used
  • Impact on community events on Council land or those sponsored by Council, which would require agreements with stall holders and vendors that no single-use plastics would be usedEffects on vendors, promotion and sales at major events which involve large numbers of visitors to the city
  • Implications for sporting clubs and lessees of Council sportsgrounds, for eg what could be sold in their canteens.

Council undertakes waste reduction programs and campaigns, and has partnered with a range of stakeholders to raise community awareness of this issue, including:

  • Being a member of the Plastic PoliceĀ® Partnerships program which engages local communities, including schools and businesses
  • Supporting soft plastic recycling by providing a system at Summerhill Waste Management Centre to collect, store and bale the recovered soft plastics until they can be processed into useful products and equipment for community and infrastructure projects.
  • Delivery of waste education programs targeting marine debris and single-use plastics, including an interactive education trailer in prominent locations, such as Merewether Beach, Nobbys Beach, the Newcastle 2017 Regional Show
  • Supporting the High Schools Marine Debris Video Challenge.. This litter and marine education program involves excursions to the Throsby mangroves (comprising an educational tour and litter count activities), in-school presentations delivered by Council and Hunter Local Land Services and video competitions for students to produce a 20-second educational advertisement. The winning entries are aired on NBN television.
  • Educational film nights, such as the free screening of A Plastic Ocean at Dixon Park Surf Life Saving Club to coincide with Surfest 2017 and last month's Blue at Tower Cinemas
  • Promotional activities throughout June to raise awareness of the issue of plastic pollution in the marine environment
  • A pride-of-place/anti-littering photographic campaign on Council's new public place waste and recycling bins along Bathers Way
  • Take 3 for the Sea educational artwork on Council's waste collection vehicles and bin enclosures.
  • Collaboration with the NSW EPA on their "Hey Tosser" campaign
  • Community tours of the Throsby Catchment in partnership with Hunter Local Land Services and Hunter Water to increase awareness about the history and topography of the catchment, its health and the impact of litter and stormwater pollution
  • Issuing reusable canvas shopping bags at educational days and community events.
  • Supporting Clean Up Australia Day and collecting waste from volunteer litter collection activities