Wednesday, 17 October 2018


Northern Beaches Council continues to lead the way in eliminating single use plastics. Council has now had many wins after the successful implementation of a number of internal as well as public initiatives to support their Single Use Plastic Reduction Program introduced just over a year ago.

In August 2017, Council adopted the Single Use Plastics Policy which encourages responsible procurement and consumption practices within Council and the community and ultimately drive policy change at all levels of government.

The Waste Minimisation at Functions Policy was also introduced at the same time which requires all event organisers to promote and practice waste avoidance principles and increase resource recovery at all public events held on Council property. The policy bans the distribution of the use of single use plastics including water bottles, plastic plates, balloons and straws at public events.

Northern Beaches CEO Ray Brownlee said he is really proud of how much Council has achieved in the last twelve months.

“Our aim is for the Northern Beaches to be free of single use plastics.

“The Program was developed to reduce the amount of single use plastic waste and litter in our environment. We’re focussed on influencing local businesses as well as the broader community and Council.

“Council took a leadership role in the elimination of single use plastics, advocating for legislative change, influencing and enabling responsible consumption practices along with promoting best practice waste management.

“The community have told us the environment is important to them and they want to reduce plastic consumption.

“We’re all on the same page, so one day at a time, we will get closer to hopefully eliminating single use plastics on the Northern Beaches” Mr Brownlee said. 

To date, Council have developed and implemented several very successful policies, campaigns and the following waste management practices:

  • Installed 25 permanent drinking water fountains and purchased 14 portable water fountains for use at Council and community events. At the permanent sites, pavement artworks have been created to reinforce Council’s single use plastic reduction messaging. The portable water fountains have diverted nearly 13,000 600ml plastic water bottles since January 2018 at local events where bottled water is now prohibited to be sold or given out. Water metre readings of nine of the permanent water fountains show 19,355 600ml water bottles have been diverted from landfill over the past 12 months.
  • Designed a major behaviour change campaign titled “Swap This for That” to support the delivery of the Single Use Plastics Policy focusing on reducing the use of the big four – plastic water bottles, bags straws and coffee cups. An extremely successful element of this was the production of a video which has been viewed 64,000 times.  This campaign has also featured on social media, print and broadcast media, street art, sand sculpting, school education, banners and flags and encouraging the community to sign a pledge. This week a second video featuring local nippers has been launched. Click here to view a snippet.
  • Written to or emailed 1176 local food and beverage businesses in the area encouraging them to transition away from the big four. 
  • Council receives approximately 300 major event bookings a year which Waste Education assesses and approve waste management plans for. For larger events they brief all stallholders on council policy and inspect their packaging prior to the event.
  • Conduct a survey of staff regarding their use of disposable coffee cups. 
  • A Swap This For That Waste Free Party Guide that explains how to use choose sustainable products instead of single use plastics.
  • Council wrote to the NSW Premier to petition the government to ban plastic bags and straws in NSW
  • Implementation of a School Education Program involving Waste Audits, Little Bug Plays, Waste and Recycling Talks Workshops at Kimbriki and involvement in micro plastic research showing their effect on our marine environment. 

Council will continue to reinforce and lead sustainable practices across the Northern Beaches which will have a positive environmental impact and inspire the community to continue to reduce their use of single use plastics.

Results of the Single Use Plastic Reduction Program will be reported back to Council annually.