A free program that has helped cafes and restaurants in regional Queensland eliminate more than 8.2 million pieces of single-use plastics will now expand to the south-east corner as well as hotels and tourism venues.
Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon today joined the Boomerang Alliance to announce the rollout of Plastic Free Places to hospitality sites in Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay and the Redlands and accommodation providers in the regions the program is in place.
The program run in partnership by the government and the alliance helps businesses phase out single-use plastics, which currently account for more than 75 per cent of rubbish removed from Australian beaches.
It does this by helping businesses engage environmentally-friendly suppliers, providing on-the-ground support, data collection and breaking down barriers that business owners might face.
“More than 600 Queensland businesses across Noosa, Central Queensland, Townsville and the Far North have proven that eliminating single-use plastics can be done,” said Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon.
“We know the harm these types of plastic can cause – we’ve seen plastic bags in Sunshine Coast waterways 30-40-years-old.
“Some businesses might already have measures in place, some might not. This free program is about helping business owners either get started or take it to the next level.
“The majority of Queenslanders [7 out of 10] are already taking steps to cut out single-use plastics, and together with many business owners they want to see it cut out from the places they dine, shop and stay at too.”
With more than 600 regional Queensland businesses successfully taking part in the program, the Minister also announced the program would expand this year to the Wide Bay and Mackay/Isaac/Whitsunday regions.
Additionally, the $1.6 million Plastic Free Places program will also reach out to hotel and tourism providers to help them come up with ways to get rid of single-use plastics in their venues, including shampoo and conditioner bottles.
It builds on the Palaszczuk Government’s five-year roadmap to phase out a number of single-use plastics across the state, recent bans on single-use plastic straws and bags as well as its $1.1 billion Recycling and Jobs Fund to drive recycling and remanufacturing in the sunshine state.
“In the past four years the Plastic Free Project has proved that establishing good working relationships with café businesses and their suppliers, and providing helpful advice on packaging, they can eliminate problem plastics from use,” said Boomerang Alliance Campaign Manager Toby Hutcheon.
“This expansion means that the project can be active across South-East Queensland and help local businesses in the way that we have achieved in other regions of the state.
“A new innovation will be a focus on reusable food ware and BYO coffee cups. Hotels and cafes can play a big part in helping Queenslanders make the switch away from disposable packaging.”