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Hobart leads the nation in single-use plastics ban

HOBART has become the first city in Australia to ban single-use plastic takeaway food packaging as part of a wider move to become single-use plastic free.

The City of Hobart’s Single Use Plastics By-law was enforced on 1 July, in a move set to drive down the amount of plastic waste going to landfill.

The new by-law bans the provision of single-use plastic takeaway food packaging, as well as other items like cutlery, cups, straws and condiment packaging.

Hobart is the first place in the nation to ban takeaway food packaging, and last year became the first city in Australia to adopt a ban on single-use plastics.

While other states and territories are announcing and implementing bans on single-use plastics, Hobart’s approach is the first and most comprehensive.

“Our city is leading the way nationally in taking decisive action to reduce plastic waste in response to strong community concerns,” Hobart City Council Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds said.

“It is really important to get rid of single-use plastics because they are wasteful and create huge problems for our environment.

“We expect this by-law will prevent 600 tonnes of single-use plastics going to landfill every year, equivalent to around 150 trucks full of waste.

“This is a huge step towards achieving our ambitious goal of zero waste to landfill by 2030.”

Lord Mayor Reynolds said the council would also continue to lobby the Tasmanian Government to implement a state-wide initiative to reduce single-use plastics.

Data from the National Litter Index suggests that up to half of all litter is related to takeaway food packaging and that as much as 80 per cent of that is likely to end up in the region’s waterways.

The Single-Use Plastics By-Law will help to remove dangerous plastics from the litter stream, through avoidance or through replacing them with compostable options.

The introduction of the by-law followed community consultation, during which 96 per cent of survey respondents said it was not appropriate to continue using single-use plastics.

The by-law was gazetted in early 2020, giving local businesses more than a year to adapt to the new requirements before they took effect.

About half of all Hobart takeaway businesses had already moved away from single-use plastics by the end of 2020.

The by-law only applies to businesses that provide or sell food in packaging that can be taken from the premises for immediate consumption.

It encourages retailers to replace single use plastic containers which are smaller than one litre in volume or an area equivalent to A4 (210 millimetres by 297 millimetres) in size.

Packaging larger than that is excluded.

The by-law does not apply where a retailer provides or sells food packaging supplied by the customer, such as coffee cups or Tupperware containers, or where the food packaging was not provided by the retailer, such as a bottle of soft drink.

For more information or help to comply with the new by-law, visit www.hobartcity.com.au/singleuseplastics.

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About the Author: Hobart Observer

The Hobart Observer is your monthly community newspaper, reaching over 24,000 homes and businesses in and around the City of Hobart. It is the product of Nicolas Turner, Justine Brazil, Ben Hope, Simon Andrews, Tobias Hinds and guest contributors, with support from advertisers.

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