Something as simple as our morning coffee may be damaging our beautiful Australian ecosystem.
By the end of the year an estimated 2.6 billion takeaway coffee cups will have been used, briefly, and chucked in Aussie bins. Coffee cups are the latest symbol in a national move against single-use plastics, and may just disappear from coffee shops within the next five years.
That’s if the Federal Government adopts the recommendations of a new Senate committee report that reveals the extent of Australia’s recycling and waste crisis. The report has been issued just as Australia gets used to grocery shopping without free plastic bags.
That would mean goodbye to balloons, straws, takeaway food containers that can’t be reused and plastic cutlery. It’s one of 18 recommendations the committee made to help end Australia’s waste problem and fix an industry it described as being in ‘grave danger’.
“Waste is a fact of life; the evidence indicates that the quantity is only going to increase; yet there cannot continue to be an expectation that ‘just putting it in the bin’ will work as an adequate waste management system,” the report said. You heard it Australia. Putting rubbish in the bin is no longer good enough to deal with the country’s massive and ever-growing problem with its rubbish.
The committee want Aussies to cut down on the waste they create. It is something for every industry in Australia to think about, from large corporate companies right down to the individual. This includes the healthcare industry and us in radiology.
Australia is behind other countries in moving on plastic pollution. The European Union proposed earlier this year to implement a similar ban, concentrating on products like cotton buds and straws. In 2002, Bangladesh banned the light plastic bags that Queensland and many other Aussie states continued to use until this month.
New South Wales homes produced 3.69 million tonnes of domestic waste in 2014-15. That’s 9.4kg each, every week according to this report.
And that’s only the rubbish that goes into bins.
Litter, especially on Aussie beaches, has become a growing problem. Keep Australia Beautiful’s latest National Litter Index from 2016-2017 found a 15.9% increase in litter found metres away from going into the ocean.
We are asking all Australians to be mindful with regards to wastage- we want to maintain not just our picturesque landscape, but our healthy environment well into the future and beyond.