July 1 will mark the beginning of Plastic Free July.
Started in 2011, Plastic Free July has developed into a global movement helping millions of people to be part of the solution to plastic pollution.
Plastic Free July is important, as it is a reminder of our responsibility to limit our plastic consumption.
We need to be reminded that single use plastic items and packaging make up 60 per cent of all litter in New South Wales.
We also need to know that any single use plastic item remains in the environment for years, eventually breaking down into microplastics, which can then enter the food chain, impacting on all, Including us.
This year residents of New South Wales are getting help to reduce their plastic consumption through the Plastics Reduction and Circular Economy Act 2021, which is legislation banning single use lightweight plastic bags and packaging from June 1 this year.
From that date lightweight bags of 35 microns or less, including compostable and bioplastic alternatives have been banned. Other single use plastic products will also be banned from November 2022.
Banned plastic items will include single use plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, plastic plates, bowls and cotton buds, including compostable alternatives to these items.
Also included in the ban are polystyrene products and rinse-off personal care products that contain microbeads.
It is anticipated that these plastic bans will result in the removal of almost 2.7 billion items from our environment over the next twenty years.
That means billions of plastic items not going into our lakes, streams and rivers, beaches, oceans and landfill.
Legislation banning single use plastics has been welcomed by the 10 000 retailers who have been consulted throughout New South Wales. According to the National Retailers' Association Chief Executive, Dominique Lamb "retailers and their suppliers are highly supportive of environmental initiatives with many already phasing out single use plastics, reducing their carbon footprint and committing to strong packaging and food waste targets."
Our State Government and our business community are both on board when it comes to reducing our reliance on plastic.
It is now up to us as individuals to use Plastic Free July to make a firm commitment to "choose to refuse" plastics that bring harm to our environment.
A way to show your commitment is to go to the Plastic Free July website and register for the Plastic Free July Challenge. Good luck.
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