Dungog heads towards single use plastic free

IT"S TIME: Single Use Plastic Free Dungog campaign champion Michelle Dado-Millyn gives readers an update on the push to make the difference in July.
IT"S TIME: Single Use Plastic Free Dungog campaign champion Michelle Dado-Millyn gives readers an update on the push to make the difference in July.

Our Single Use Plastic Free campaign kicked off on July 1 with ABC Newcastle Breakfast Radio's Jenny Marchant doing a live cross all morning.

She interviewed our mayor, businesses, schools and community members about what is underway and how when we work together positive change can happen.

With an ABC TV/online story as well, there truly is a spotlight on our town.

Thank you to everyone in the community who is supportive and on board with what we are trying to achieve. We really do have an opportunity to set a great example for others to follow.

The time is now for us all to work together to do all we can to reduce our single use plastic waste footprint. 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 becomes carcinogenic. Winds and rains move our rubbish around the environment all the time.

Plastic production (of which single use is the most problematic and biggest in number) has doubled every decade since the 1950s. From plastic production (from coal, gas, oil and derived petro-chemicals) to plastic disposal - the negative destructive impact plastic has on the environment and the subsequent biodversity of species and ecosystems is enormous. Our plastic pollution is one of the biggest problems that all life on earth's natural world home is battling for survival.

As of July 1, Dungog has become the world's first take away coffee cup rescue town, in partnership with 7Eleven Australia and Closed Loop/Simply Cups Australia.

Our message is always first and foremost to 'Reduce Waste and Choose to use Reusables' but we now have a closed loop solution in place for the take away coffee cup which is one of the biggest single use plastic items.

This initiative upcycles collected cups into a product that comes back in to the community as a range of reusable products, furniture, carpark bump stops, kerbing and more.

The town of Dungog alone uses in excess of 100,000 take away coffee cups per year.

Let's keep our take away coffee cups out of landfill and the wider environment and place them in one of our collection sites. You can always choose to have a 'slow coffee' in the café or bring your own reusable cup.

The take away coffee cup collection sites are at: council admin, Visitors Information Centre, Library, IGA, Stella Bistro Café, Coffee Bean Café, Long Room Café, Dungog Bowling Club, Dungog Hospital, Country Elegance Gardens and Gifts, Irwin's Petrol Station as well as Shaw's Williams River Bakery in Clarence Town, Twin Rivers Café in Gresford and Paterson Service Station in Paterson. Please place your empty take away coffee cups in one of them and help us keep them out of landfill and the wider environment.

JULY COMPETITION

For a bit of fun we have a competition running throughout the month of July for both businesses and community members. Tell or show us how you have changed your single use plastic habits on our Facebook group page 'Single Use Plastic Free Dungog'.

We want to see your photos and hear your stories about how and what you have done to become single use plastic free in your life. Prizes include gift cards, vouchers, movie tickets and a range of reusable products plus businesses will be awarded blue or green planet status.

How many 'no more single use plastic' boxes can you tick? The challenge is to stop using single use plastic bags, straws, water bottles, cutlery, containers and become a take away coffee 'Cup Rescue' partner. What alternatives to single use plastics will you choose to use?

WATER REFILL

Dungog's first water refill station is coming to town soon, as is a Return and Earn model. A reminder to remember to take your clean soft plastics to the IGA, Library, Council Admin or the tip/waste facility for recycling and please recycle all your hard plastics in the yellow recycling bins. Westwood Providores now has a range of cornstarch bin liners to use instead of plastic bags.

GRAB A BAG

Boomerang Bags Dungog's range of reusable products are available every Saturday at the Local Growers Market from 8.30-12 and at our bees every second and fourth Thursday of the month at the CWA 11am -4pm.