The Ocean Action Pod is a program of the Total Environment Centre, in collaboration with the Boomerang Alliance and with the generous support of initial funding from the NSW Environmental Trust.

Together we can stop 70% of plastic pollution in Australia

 

We have the solutions needed for healthy oceans and clean beaches.

 

1) Establish a world's best practice Container Deposit System

 

Many people are familiar with the system in South Australia, the Northern Territory and now NSW, where you get 10c back for your bottles and cans. Its actually a system that is used all over the world, in various forms and it is proven to significantly reduce the amount of litter from beverage containers. We know that beverage containers and associated waste (caps, straws, etc.) are the single largest source of litter in the Australian environment, making up around 60% of plastic recovered from our beaches. By researching container deposit systems all over the world, the Boomerang Alliance has worked out the best system design for Australia - a system that we know will reduce beverage-related litter by 80%! It also increases recycling rates, avoids using virgin material for new products, lowers greenhouse gas emissions, reduces water usage, creates jobs and generates cash for charities.

The NSW Government introduced their Return & Earn scheme on 1 December 2017 and it is slowly improving. Thanks to community pressure led by the Boomerang Alliance, Queensland, and Western Australia are also committed to introducing Container Refund Schemes.

We need your support to get Victoria and Tasmania on board so we can have a national scheme to be proud of.

2) Ban single-use plastic bags

 

150 million. That’s how many single-use plastic bags are entering the Australian environment as litter each year. They choke and entangle wildlife and eventually disintegrate into tens of thousands of micro-plastic pieces. Plastic bags can persist for up to 1000 years.

 

Some single use, non-biodegradable plastic shopping bags are now banned in South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory, ACT, Fremantle, Huskisson, Kangaroo Valley and numerous other places. It’s time for NSW to improve on this and ban all dangerous bags.

3) Ban microbeads

 

Half of all facial exfoliators available in Australia contain plastic microbeads. You’ll also find them in toothpaste and nail polish. A single tube of face scrub can contain as many as 350,000 beads. They are so small that they pass through the filters at sewage treatment facilities and out into the ocean, in their billions. The United States recently banned microbeads in cosmetics and the Boomerang Alliance is campaigning for Australia to follow. Until then, you can make informed choices about the products that you buy with the help of the Good Scrub Guide.

Send a letter to The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment & Energy
Address:  PO Box 6022, House of Representatives, Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

 

Suggested points to make:
While useful results have been achieved by the industry voluntary-microbeads plan, it leaves a loophole for continued use of plastic microbead product on the Australian market by those who have failed to participate in the voluntary phase out or through a future reversal of the phase out by manufacturers; including the prospect of dumping by producers locked out of other markets by legislated bans.
Australia must have a nationally legislated ban on plastic microbeads including so-called biodegradable plastic microbeads. These are banned in many jurisdictions.

4) Clean up industry

 

Nurdles are tiny plastic pellets used by industry for manufacturing plastic products. Billions of nurdles are escaping factories and ending up in the marine environment. There is not a beach in the world that does not have nurdles on it.

 

In Australia, manufacturers are required by law to keep nurdles contained. However, these laws are widely ignored and regulators are reluctant to enforce them. Organisations like Boomerang Alliance, Tangaroa Blue and Operation Clean Sweep are actively engaging with industry and government to keep nurdles out of the marine environment.