Hobart’s single-use plastic ban spells bigger opportunity

 12 March 2019

 The Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) applauds Hobart City Council for being proactive in its quest to phase out single-use plastics by voting in favour of a ban by 2020 with the passing of the single-use plastics by-law. However, WMRR believes the transition, and ultimately the initiative, stands a better chance of success if it were rolled out state-wide and ideally nationally, querying how it can be enforced otherwise.

WMRR supports eliminating single-use items including plastics as far as possible, favouring instead an emphasis on products designed for reuse and where practicable and conceivable, avoiding single use items and demand for them, including packaging. 

“The ultimate goal is avoiding the creation of these materials in the first place, given what we are doing is effectively designing waste,” WMRR CEO, Ms Gayle Sloan said.  

“Hobart City Council has certainly proven that it is willing to take the lead by voting for a ban and could set the bar for other councils to follow. However, we must not undermine the value of working on such initiatives on a state-wide and nation-wide level.”

Adoption of a single-use plastics ban by the state government would lead to much-needed consistency in messaging and education, which are key in changing consumption behaviours. It would also ensure a level playing field for businesses across the State instead of putting only Hobart businesses at a disadvantage as there will be a short-term economic impact.

Besides the single-use plastics ban, WMRR supports these actions identified in the Council Meeting Agenda on 4 March 2019:

  • The Council actively lobby the state government and encourage the development of statewide legislation to ban single use plastics in Tasmania in line with the motion passed by the Local Government Association of Tasmania at its General Meeting on 25 July 2018.
  • The City continue to work closely with the relevant business community to support and encourage the voluntary reduction of the use of single use plastics.

“We would support Hobart City Council to continue to take the lead by lobbying the state government to implement the ban instead of going it alone and while doing so, to continue to place emphasis on avoidance and reuse,” Ms Sloan said.

“However, with the passing of the single-use plastics by-law, it is critical that Council consults and works with all stakeholders throughout the process and rolls out incentives and grants to assist businesses during the transition.”