BACKGROUND by Clr Natalie Warren
Mass plastic use is a huge problem that contributes massive amounts to landfill and has a negative impact on ocean eco systems. Plastic straws are an unnecessary convenience with a big impact.
Single use plastics (SUPs), including straws, are having an adverse affect on our world, and it's time to do something about it. There is an alarming disconnect between what’s in our hands and where it comes from, or what it means for the future.
A plastic straw in your G&T might seem innocent enough, but multiply that by the billions of people who buy billions of drinks across the world every single day, and you start to get an idea of the scale of the problem. That straw you threw away after stirring your drink will outlive you and everyone else on this planet. Many of you will have seen the stories of turtles found with plastic straws lodged inside their nostrils, and seabirds with stomachs so full of plastic that they starve to death. The plastic pollution on our beaches is impossible to ignore.
This summer, a group of Manly locals, in collaboration with SO Manly and Plastic Free Manly, decided to try to do something about it and Operation Straw was born. The aim was to complete an underwater clean-up of Manly Cove once a weekend over the summer, with the aim of recording data for future use and also removing plastic straws from the ocean. These were called STRAWkles. Members of the community were a huge part of the project and they're now working on phase two - talking to local businesses about their plastic use. The project was featured on Studio 10, ABC News and Sunrise.
A breakdown of stats:
More than 2000 plastic straws were collected over 12 cleans.
Straws were separated into types (e.g. slurpee straws, clear straws etc.)
The most numerous type (more than 600) was long black straws. These are the kind found in Slurpees, and long soft drinks.
More than 300 McDonalds straws were found, and more than 250 short black cocktail straws.
On one STRAWkle the haul was more than 200 plastic straws and then just two days later a further 100 were collected in exactly the same spot.
The straws collect in Manly Cove so frequently, and it's clear from the different types found that they are from local venues. Some venues in Manly have already stopped using plastic straws, including Hemingway’s and Four Pines. The Bavarian Beer Cafe and Hotel Steyne have recently said that they will no longer be using plastic straws after hearing about the amount found in Manly Cove. These community groups are having some success with local businesses in persuading them to ditch plastic straws, but strong support from council on this issue would also help to supercharge the work to take plastic straws off of the menu in Manly.
The Manly Chamber of Commerce is also supportive of this initiative.
A state and federal ban on plastic straws and SUPs in general is needed in the short term to get a grip on our plastic problem. Council’s support of this action would send a strong message. This initiative is embodied in the internal Single Use Plastic Elimination Strategy which has been developed by Council’s Waste Education Team.
076/18 RESOLVED Cr Warren / Cr Ferguson
A. Council continues to support the work and intention of campaigns such as Plastic Free Manly, SO Manly, Boomerang Bags and others across the Northern Beaches in their efforts to reduce the use of plastic straws and other single use plastics.
B. Council will write to each of the Northern Beaches food and beverage proprietors to express support as per motion A and to encourage businesses to transition away from plastic straws, either to alternatives or to no straws altogether.
C. Council requests staff to report back within six months on progress to date implementing the Single Use Plastics Policy and proposing strategies that would encourage venues across the Northern Beaches to phase out the usage of plastic straws. This report to include enabling strategies for local businesses.
D. Council will write to the NSW Government to demonstrate the Northern Beaches’ commitment to eliminating single use plastics under our Single Use Plastics Policy and strongly advocating for a ban on plastic straws and plastic bags.
E. Council add a requirement to future leases and licences for Council owned buildings including surf clubs that any cafes be plastic straw free.
VOTING FOR: Crs McTaggart, Heins, Grattan, Philpott, Daley, White, Warren, Harrison, Sprott, Walton, Ferguson, De Luca, Bingham and Regan
AGAINST: Cr Amon