Dungog's bid to become single use plastic free by the end of July is about to launch.
This Saturday, June 29, from 9am until 12pm, outside the CWA rooms in Dowling Street there's competitions, prizes, handouts, displays and a Boomerang Bags stall with plenty of reusables on sale.
"We are asking the community to work with us to proactively work for single use plastic free from July 2019," said Michelle Dado-Millynn.
"As always the key message is to reduce waste, choose to use reusables and recycle (compost) best practice.
"If we all work together we can set a fantastic example for others to follow.
"The natural world is in crisis and we have a chance to make a real difference and lead the way as a town and shire with what we role model as Single Use Plastic Free Dungog."
The movement is focused on making it as easy as possible for the community to support and choose reusable alternatives for the big six single-use disposable plastic items - plastic bags, plastic straws, take away coffee cups, plastic water bottles, cutlery and take away containers.
"Dungog Shire is already a leader in the plastic free movement with Boomerang Bags, Bee Rapt, Soft Plastics Recycling and Responsible Cafés - an initiative which encourages the community to bring their own reusable ceramic mug or keep cup for their take away coffee and in turn get 50 cents off the cost," said Ms Dad-Millynn.
"We are so excited for Dungog to become the first ever Cup Rescue Town thanks to 7-Eleven Australia and Simply Cups Australia and we will be rolling out our cup rescue sites around town this week."
Collection points for your empty take away coffee cups will be: Council admin, library, Visitors Info Centre, Stella Bistro, Coffee Bean Café, Long Room Café, Dungog Café, IGA, Country Elegance Gardens and Gifts Nursery, Dungog Hospital, Dungog High School and Irwins petrol station. Cup Rescue collection sites will also be at Shaw's William River Bakery in Clarence Town and Twin Rivers Café in Gresford.
"Please just place your empty take away coffee cups and lids into one of these collection sites instead of into the rubbish bin and help keep them out of landfill," said Ms Dado-Millynn.
The upcycled products will come back into the community as car park stops, kerbing, furniture and reusable "Rcups".
For July 1, Boomerang Bags Dungog will have made well over 4000 bags for the community to use instead of plastic bags.
"We have had great success with helping the community to transition away from single use plastic bags by providing and encouraging alternatives: reusable bags, produce bags, cutlery tote bags, BeeRapt's bees wax wraps and Repair and Rewear - at our sewing bees every second and fourth Thursday of the month. Our 'Bought To Support' range is available at the Local Growers Market in the CWA courtyard every Saturday morning from 8.30am - 12pm.
Council will install a water refill station at the Visitors Information Centre and is investigating an over the counter Return and Earn model.
"Clean water, soil and air are essential for all life on earth," said Ms Dado-Millynn.
"Our planet's ecosystems and biodiversity are directly effected by the choices we make as individuals, communities and countries.
"Every piece of plastic made still exists - plastic doesn't break down it breaks up and every step of the way it is leaching toxins into the soil, water, air and us - when exposed to heat, plastic is carcinogenic.
"Winds and rains move our rubbish around the environment all the time. All roads and landfill sites lead to waterways and the ocean. Over nine million tonnes of plastic waste enters the world's oceans every year.
"A single plastic bottle can break up into more than 10,000 pieces of toxic microplastic."
Ms Dado-Millynn said more than 100,000 animals are killed by plastic bags alone each year.
"Sea birds and mammals at record rates are ingesting and dying from our plastic waste," she said.
"Scientists are now saying there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2040. In an average seafood diet we are ingesting more than 11,000 plastic particles annually. Ten per cent of global oil used is to produce plastic.
"Governments, businesses, schools, community groups and households - it's about us all working together - caring and choosing to live sustainably, ethically and responsibly with and for the natural world.
"This is about our kids and the planets interconnected futures - why wouldn't we all want to do sll we can to ensure and protect that.
"The time is absolutely now."