Single use plastics could be wiped out of use at Maribyrnong council venues and events within three years.
The council aims to phase out using plastic straws, balloons, polystyrene cups and bowls, plastic bags, plastic coffee cups and PET bottles by June 2020.
By the end of December 2021 the council would phase out plastic cutlery and plates, sauce sachets, cling wrap and promotional material.
While noting the practical benefits of plastics, a council report has stated that plastic pollution is an urgent environmental problem.
Plastic waste including plastic bags, straws, coffee stirrers, water bottles and food packaging represents about 10 per cent of all waste disposed of to landfill in Victoria.
“It has been estimated that ocean surface waters alone could contain over 5 trillion plastic pieces, weighing over 250,000 tonnes,” the report stated.
A feasibility study prepared by Blue Environment found the council can control the use of some plastics, but others can only be addressed through advocacy with venue hirers, caterers, suppliers and other community organisations.
The study found the top three priority areas to reduce or eliminate single use plastic are festivals, internal operations and sports clubs.
Councillor Mia McGregor, who raised the idea of the plastic ban, told last week’s council meeting it was important the council addresses an urgent environmental problem.
“[Plastics] go into our rivers, they go into our wildlife, it’s just mind-boggling that we’re still making things that we might only use for a second or a minute,” she said.
“I think this is actually just a really urgent problem and I think it’s really good that we have got this plan … I would really like to be able to walk out of here saying here’s one really good thing that I’ve been part of.”
The council will develop guidelines outlining plastic alternatives, educate council staff and suppliers as well as the community, and raise awareness around the impacts of single use plastics.
A plastic-free event will be trialled.