Port Douglas inching closer to being plastic bag free


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THE Douglas Shire can lay claim to not only being an innovator, but also an early adopter when it comes to promoting a plastic bag-free environment.

Back in July, at a well-attended event at the Clink Theatre, Plastic Free Douglas committee member Lisa Golding revealed that 45 businesses – from market stall holders to major tourist attractions – had registered as plastic bag-free and would continue to promote the campaign.

The fruits of their labour have paid off with the recent announcement that the Queensland State Government has decided to ban the use of single-use plastic bags by 2018.

The decision was welcomed by the Queensland Conservation Council who said the move shows the state taking a lead on the issue.

“While other states have been talking about looking into the issues, Queensland bags the prize for its plastic carrier ban,” said Queensland Conservation Council head, Dr Tim Seelig.

New South Wales and Victoria do not have plastic bag bans, but South Australia, the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania already have bans in place.

Plastic Free Douglas was an initiative of the Douglas Shire Council, Douglas Shire Sustainability Group, Low Isles Preservation Society, Tangaroa Blue, Cairns and Far North Environment Centre and The Bendigo Bank.

The state-wide ban includes the typical transparent plastic bags typically used by supermarkets. It does not include the heavier plastic bags usually used by other retailers like clothes shops and department stores.

However, the Queensland State Government is hoping to implement voluntary guidelines to help stop retailers using these types of bags.

Australians dispose of four billion plastic bags a year, which is detrimental to birds, marine animals, our ecosystems, as well as human health and the economy.