The Huon Valley Council has undertaken work to support staff, businesses, and community members in reducing their plastic waste.
Acting Mayor Sally Doyle said taking advantage of the international Plastic Free July 2022 campaign and Plastic Free Places Tasmania, Council has been able to encourage plastic waste avoidance in day-to day life.
“We’ve been encouraging things from do-it-yourself alternatives and ‘choosing to refuse’ unnecessary disposables, through to sourcing goods and services that are as sustainable as possible.
“Waste has significant impacts on both our economy, and the beautiful land on which we live. Plastic is a particularly problematic waste type as it never fully breaks down, causing problems relating to animal entanglement and ingestion, as well as microplastics which have been shown to be prolific across all areas of the globe.
“Taking small steps toward reducing our waste can add up to significant benefits for both our wallets and our local natural values.”
Acting Mayor Doyle said Council is particularly encouraged by the positive action taken by businesses locally.
“This July we partnered with 17 local businesses across the valley to provide signage and advice on opportunities for sustainable, plastic free practices. Our Environment Services Support Officer Jessica Lucas has been working hard to form partnerships and encourage businesses to get on board and she’s had some great success.
“Jessica encouraged businesses to provide compostable alternatives to single use plastics such as cutlery, straws and plastic-lined coffee cups, promote reusables over disposables, and consider using and selling products that avoid or minimise plastic waste.
“Two local businesses in particular are doing great work to improve their sustainability: Reba Sear in Huonville and the Cygnet Old Bank.
“Reba Sear is a café that is already environmentally conscious, and they do their best to reduce waste coming in and out of the shop. Some of the many sustainable actions taking place at Reba Sear include providing compostable alternatives for disposable cutlery and straws and selling and promoting reusables.
“Excitingly, Reba Sear is also about to install a keg-based milk system from Tasmanian business The Udder Way that will provide Tasmanian Ashgrove milk on tap. This will help reduce the plastic packaging associated with coffee making.
“Cygnet Old Bank café minimises their plastic waste by providing compostable single use items and quality reusables available for purchase. Additionally, their drinks fridge is stocked without any plastic packaging, featuring local Lucaston Park apple juice and a broad range of other drinks in highly recyclable glass and aluminium containers.”
Acting Mayor Doyle said Council would like to thank the following businesses who took part in the campaign:
Acting Mayor Doyle said Jessica also held events to encourage Council staff and the community to reduce their use of plastics.
“A council morning tea during Plastic Free July was an opportunity for staff from all areas to come together and learn about plastic free alternatives as well as the targets set out in the National Plastics Plan (2021).
“The morning tea featured 100% reusable or plastic free food storage, cutlery, and crockery, bio confetti made from leaves and petals, and bunches of flowers instead of plastic decorations such as balloons.”
A series of community workshops were conducted to engage community members and build capacity for making plastic free choices in day-to-day life.
“These workshops ranged from sewing to concocting your own cleaning products and used local and recycled materials wherever possible,” Acting Mayor Doyle said.