The Lismore City Council will this evening decide whether to support the growing local government movement to ban single use plastic bags.
Greens councillor Vanessa Ekins has lodged a notice of motion calling on her fellow councillors to write to state and federal governments urging them to introduce legislation that will ban the bags.
Cr Ekins also wants the council to contact local retailers ‘to encourage them to voluntarily and in a staged approach, reduce and ultimately eliminate single use plastic shopping bags from the Lismore local government area’.
‘Single use plastic bags are a major litter problem in our parks and waterways and can result in the deaths of many turtles, cetaceans, birds and other animal species,’ Cr Ekins said.
‘Councils around Australia are running campaigns to ban single use plastic bags and adding our voice to the chorus will encourage the other spheres of government to act.
‘Although many local businesses and residents have reduced their need for single use plastic bags, council can take a much more active role in moving toward a single use plastic bag free future.’
In response to the notice of motion, staff have pointed out that a similar motion was passed in 2012 and the governments response had been that banning plastic bags was a matter for retailers.
Since then, however, South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT had all implemented bans.
NSW has said it would push for a national response rather than a state ban although Labor’s Penny Sharpe is expected to introduce legislation by the end of the year.
Staff also pointed out that while all businesses in the central business district were approached at the time, none wanted to be involved in a ban.
Staff said last financial year the waste facility recycled 76 bales of single use plastic bags and other soft plastics, amounting to 30.4 tonnes of soft plastic.
Cr Ekin’s motion will be considered at the meeting this evening, which will be held in the council chambers in Goonellabah.