Boomerang Alliance develops Wollongong pilot scheme on how to rid region of bag rubbish

It's in the bag: Boomerang Alliance campaigners including Jeff Angel (centre) firing up their campaign in Sydney. This Friday it's Wollongong's turn.

It's in the bag: Boomerang Alliance campaigners including Jeff Angel (centre) firing up their campaign in Sydney. This Friday it's Wollongong's turn.

Wollongong has been selected as one of two areas for a new pilot scheme to try and get rid of plastic bags.

Starting today the city will be part of a trial for a major push to reduce single-use, disposable plastics across food outlets, schools, festivals and the community.

The move is being pushed by the Boomerang Alliance, a group of 47 environment groups, which will kick off the campaign to develop what it calls a “community taking control plan” tonight.

Sydney-based Alliance leaders will be meeting community groups and concerned members of the public to draw up a plan to cut the region’s plastic footprint.

Boomerang Alliance director Jeff Angel named the campaign’s six most-wanted styles of refuse. 

“We have chosen six key items that contribute to litter and marine plastic pollution which cause widespread community concern – bottled beverages, coffee cups, straws, foodware, bags and polystyrene,” he said.

“New policies like the container deposit scheme and a ban on lightweight plastic bags are crucial - however we still need to address the other litter items entering our oceans.

“Our aim is to help business, council, schools, festival organisers and the community to transition to better practises,” said Jeff Angel, Director of the Alliance.    

Mr Angel said there was growing worldwide alarm about plastic pollution in oceans harming marine life and entering the food chain.

He said the program would include finding reasons that people find it hard to stop using plastic bags – and help overcome them.

“We are already finding good examples that can be used widely,” he said. For example there is no need to use plastic for many take-away food items, nor plastic bags – serviceable thicker paper bags and cardboard containers are available.

“We want to particularly warn against using polystyrene for hot food or liquids because toxic styrene can leach into your food and drink.”

There is no need to use plastic for many take-away food items, nor plastic bags – serviceable thicker paper bags and cardboard containers are available

Jeff Angel

The other pilot area is Noosa in Queensland. The alliance will produce a guide based on the lessons learned from these areas.