Living plastic-free in Willoughby
Willoughby City Council is committed to supporting the community to reduce their use of single-use plastics. This includes Council operations, where a historic motion was passed on 13 August 2018 to remove single-use plastics from all Council operations, including public events.
- The plastic cups, straws, bags and bottles that we use for just a few minutes are made to last forever, and only break up into smaller pieces (microplastics)
- Each year more than 8 million tonnes of plastic enter into our oceans (the equivalent of dumping a garbage truck full of plastic every minute)
- Microplastics transfer into the food chain, can be found in the air we breathe, in our bloodstream, on top of Mt Everest, and at the deepest point in the ocean (the Mariana Trench)
- Approximately only 13% of plastics are recycled (National Waste Report 2022).
NSW single-use plastic ban
In 2022, NSW banned certain single-use plastics:*
- Lightweight plastic bags
- Single-use plastic straws, stirrers and cutlery
- Single-use plastic plates and bowls
- Expanded polystyrene foodware and cups
- Plastic cotton buds
- Plastic micro-beads in certain rinse-off personal hygiene products.
* On the Plastics Ban NSW website you can learn more about the ban and the exemptions that apply. More items may be added to the ban with time.
What can we do?
The best option is always to reduce single-use plastics in the first place, with re-use as the second option, and recycling as the final option, in accordance with the waste hierarchy.
The War on Waste Action Toolkit (inspired by the ABC's popular TV series) has some simple ideas to reduce plastic waste in your home or workplace.
Mayor Tanya Taylor talks about participating in the annual Plastic Free July challenge, and some alternatives to plastics you can use in the home, while shopping and when out-and-about.
Here are our top tips to reduce single-use plastics. Just pick one or two, and add more step-by-step over time.
- Bring your reusable cup
- Use a swappable cup program like Green Caffeen to borrow and return cups
- Carry a reusable water bottle
- Refuse straws or carry reusable metal straws
- Consider if you really need a take-away and instead dine in.
- Bring your own containers to takeaway food shops and to the supermarket deli
- Carry a set of reusable cutlery for your take-away meals
- Refuse condiments in plastic containers - for example, tomato sauce sachets and soy sauce fish bottles.
- Remember your reusable shopping bags
- Bring reusable fruit and vegetable produce bags to the shops
- Buy non-packaged fruit and vegetables and avoid foods in plastic.
- Avoid using cling film and use beeswax wraps
- Store your food in containers
- Swap out bin liner bags with newspapers, or leave your bin naked.
- Switch to a bamboo toothbrush
- Use soap bars, shampoo bars and a good reusable razor.
- Ditch disposable plates, cups and cutlery - choose washable options
- Don’t use balloons or accept a balloon from promoters.
- Invest in reusable menstrual products - for example, washable pads, period undies or a menstrual cup.
- Invest in reusable cloth nappies.