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.
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'. Purchase a metal straw and keep it handy in your bag or car when needed.
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.