let's go plastic free
Plastic Free Wollongong is calling our community to action to transform the Illawarra into a sustainable city and protect our spectacular coastline
Plastic Free Wollongong is an initiative by the Boomerang Alliance to bring the entire community together to reduce single-use plastics and their impact on our environment, with the goal of transitioning the Illawarra towards a more sustainable future. Our goal is ambitious – a 70 per cent reduction of targeted single-use plastic items by 2020, but our message is simple… say NO to single-use plastic.
The impact of single-use plastic on the environment, particularly marine wildlife is devastating, with over one million seabirds and more than 100,000 marine mammals dying every year as a result of plastic ingestion and entanglement. Once plastic enters the environment it does not break down, it breaks up into microplastic which lasts forever. By 2050 it is predicted there will be more plastic than fish by weight in our oceans, with estimates that there is already over five trillion pieces of plastic in our oceans. With plastic pollution now a global crisis, this important campaign is about taking action on a community level, by eliminating the flow of disposable single-use plastics that we as individuals have the power to control.
TARGET ITEMS The targeted single-use items we wish to eliminate are disposable plastics that are designed to be used once and then discarded – plastic water bottles, plastic bags, polystyrene/plastic takeaway containers, plastic straws, plastic cutlery and coffee cups, represent the majority of litter found along our beaches.
GET INVOLVED The biggest mistake anyone can make when thinking about the global crisis is that an individual cannot make a difference. Every individual has the ability to create change and we are seeing it happen right now in our community. More people are becoming aware of not only the issues surrounding single-use plastic, but the need to translate that awareness into action. It’s inspiring to see so many individuals take responsibility for their consumption.
OCEAN FRIENDLY Look out for Ocean Friendly businesses! There is a groundswell building around sustainable change and it’s exciting to see more and more businesses step up and take responsibility for their plastic footprint by becoming Surfrider Foundation ‘Ocean Friendly’ certified. Any business who is Ocean Friendly means they have eliminated all six single-use plastic target items in favour of reusable or non-plastic alternatives:
✖ No styrofoam
✖ No plastic bags
✖ No single-use plastic straws
✖ No water sold in plastic bottles
✖ Proper recycling practices are followed
✖ Reusable tableware used when dining in and non-plastic utensils for takeaway food
What can you do to help?
AS AN INDIVIDUAL:
1. Refuse to use single-use plastic items
2. Use reusable items, such as a water bottle, bag and coffee cup
3. Support businesses who have become plastic free and help change the culture in the Illawarra so that eliminating single-use plastic is the norm
4. Get involved in local beach clean-ups and inspire your mates to join the PFW movement
AS A BUSINESS:
1. Refuse to supply single-use plastic items
2. Use reusable or non-plastic alternatives (cardboard, wood, paper)
3. Become Ocean Friendly Certified – visit www.surfrider.org.au
Words & images Andy Gray