Single use plastics are items which are intended to be used only once and then thrown away. Every day we're offered many single use plastic items when we make purchases including bags, straws, water bottles, food packaging and takeaway coffee cups and lids.
Every one of us has the power to make a difference. Next time, say no to single use plastics and help to turn back the tide of plastic litter which is entering our ocean.
Find out more at www.plasticfreewollongong.org and see how you can get involved.
Plastic Free July
Join over 2 million people from 159 countries who are choosing to be part of the annual Plastic Free July challenge, to reduce their consumption of single-use plastics in July and beyond.
Sign up and choose your challenge by visiting htttp://www.plasticfreejuly.org/register.html You might be mostly plastic free already or maybe this is your first attempt. You may want to tackle avoiding all single-use plastic items from your life or just the main problem items including drink straws, coffee cup lids, plastic bottles and plastic bags.
During Plastic Free July, Council's Green Team are hosting an inspiring and creative workshop that will start you on a journey to avoid single use plastic items. Come along and learn how to make your own beeswax wraps and reusable produce bags.
You may have probably heard about Beeswax wraps but probably didn’t know all of the uses for this miracle product. Great for sandwiches, storing cheese, wrapping cut fruit, vegies, avocados and more. They are easily washed and can be used time and time again.
Say goodbye to single use plastic fruit and veg bags when shopping and say hello to colourful and reusable produce bags! Very light weight, strong mesh and feature a drawstring tie. The mesh bags allow your produce to ‘breathe’ helping it to stay fresh for longer.
These workshops are going to fill up fast. So book today to reserve your spot in these FREE* workshops. *Workshops are open to residents of the Wollongong LGA only.
Where: Wollongong Central Library, 41 Burelli St, Level 1, The Lab
Illawarra Christian School Students - World Champions in the Future Problem Solving Program 2018
The Community Problem Solving (CmPS) competition encourages students to identify problems in their local communities and start an action plan to help tackle that problem. The Year 7 team plastICS 'Preventing Litter and Stormwater Trash' wanted to do something about the amount of litter entering our oceans and the devastating effects it was having on our bird and marine life.
The team decided to target soft plastics in lunch boxes. They conducted a school audit, educated the school teachers, staff, parents and students on the issue and suggested that they use beeswax wraps instead of soft plastic. They alsosold the wraps to students and teachers. They also set up soft plastics collection points around the school so they could recycle this waste stream.
The team came Third in the National competition in the Year 7-9 division. This earned them an invitation to represent Australia at the international competition. The project continued to grow and they wanted to share their knowledge with other schools. A plastICS regional training afternoon saw a number of schools across the region attend to find out more about avoiding plastic litter. Speakers included Dr Karen Raubenheimer from the University of Wollongong, Fiona Netting from Wollongong City Council and Andy Gray from Boomerang Alliance.
The Taronga Zoo and Conservation Society have also included the team in a toolkit for schools based on preventing marine litter. You can sign up for the toolkit on the Taronga Zoo website.
The plastICS team was named the World Champions in the Environment Division in the International Future Problem Solving Championships at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse, USA in June 2018.
The Year 7 plastICS team [back row] Angelina Kemp, Elise Pennicook, Callia Spreitzer, Annika Hanson, [front row] Isabel Smith, Skye Netting, Kyuri Kim and Ava Fahey.
Wollongong City Council congratulates the plastICS team at Illawarra Christian School on this great achievement and in helping to educate the community about the dangers of soft-plastics in our environment. If you would like to find out more about their project you can visit their website.
If your school is implementing change programs working towards a Plastic Free Wollongong, we would love to hear from you! Email us at GT@wollongong.nsw.gov.au
Targeted Single-Use Plastics to Avoid and their alternatives
As an individual we can refuse single-use plastic items, and use reusable alternatives.
Water bottles - bring along your own reusable water bottle and use the refill stations at parks and shopping centres when available. Bubblers are available in many parks and public places.
Plastic bags - see Beyond Plastic Bags (below).
Polystyrene/Plastic containers - carry your own clean, sanitary & undamaged containers for takeaway places to use or if you are going out for a meal and think you'll have leftovers. (Businesses are not obliged to participate).
Plastic straws - make sure you ask for 'no straw'.
Plastic cutlery - eat in or carry reusable utensils with you such as bamboo or stainless steel. Purchase a reusable picnic set for weekend outings and BBQs that has reusable plates, cutlery and cups.
Coffee cups - refuse coffee cups and lids. Dine in or BYO reusable.
Take the Plastic Free Wollongong pledge today at plasticfreewollongong.org
Become part of the Litter Solution!
If you're put off by the amount of litter and plastic bags lying around and would like to do something about it, join the Picitup program and become part of the litter solution.
To register and receive your free kit visit our Litter page.
Beyond Plastic Bags
We all know that plastic bags are harmful to our environment. In Australia alone, we use over 4 billion single-use plastic bags each year**. And at least 50 – 80 million plastic bags end up as litter on Australia’s beaches, streets and parks every year*.
Local and state governments around Australia, businesses and community groups spend more than $4 million per year cleaning up littered plastic shopping bags.
The community considers plastic bags to be a free cost to households, but in fact the cost to households is around $10 - $15 per year, which is added to the price of goods that are purchased.
A person’s use of a plastic bag lasts for the time it takes to get groceries from the shops to home. When you consider plastic bags take up to 1,000 years to breakdown in the environment, there has to be a better option.
It’s time to start saying no to using plastic bags. Together we can:
- Stop plastic bags becoming windblown litter which end up looking unsightly in our parks, beaches and waterways.
- Help stop many seabirds, turtles, dolphins and even whales from ingesting plastic bags which they can choke on or starve by confusing plastic bags for jellyfish.
- Save our non-renewable resources - plastic bags are made from oil and gas. Once they are depleted, they cannot be replaced.
The good news is there are alternatives to plastic bags.
Alternatives For Residents
Helpful tips for life beyond plastic bags:
- Try lining your bin with old newspapers, finished cereal bags, bread bags or pasta/rice bags.
- Set up a compost bin, bokashi or worm farm. This removes food waste from your bin (so you need fewer bin liners) and creates healthy soil for your garden.
- Carry groceries home in reusable bags which are available at most supermarket outlets and remember to bring these back each time.
- After unpacking groceries, put your reusable bags back into your car so they're ready for next time.
- Another option is to bring a trolley dolly or a couple of washing baskets which stack neatly in each other for ease of carrying to the supermarket.
- When buying fruit and vegetables, use reusable cloth or mesh bags .
- Ask the butcher/deli/fish market to wrap meats straight in paper if you don't have your own containers.
- Take a bread bag or tea towel for fresh bread.
- Pack your sandwiches in reusable sandwich containers or beeswax wraps instead of plastic wrap.
Boomerang Bags - you're invited
Boomerang Bags works to reduce the use of plastic bags by engaging local communities in the making of Boomerang Bags. Boomerang Bags are community-made using recycled materials and provide a free, fun, sustainable alternative to plastic bags.
There are currently two Boomerang Bag communities in the Wollongong area which are seeking new volunteers to get together to make bags.
Wollongong CBD - hosted by Surfrider Foundation UOW Club & Society
To find out how to get involved visit their Facebook group or email plasticfreewollongong@gmail.
Northern Illawarra - Coal Coast group
To find out how to get involved visit Facebook or contact Wendy on 0403 397 751.