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Mount Martha moves closer to being plastic-free

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Imagine a world where single-use plastics are non-existent and reusable vessels are the norm. Waste Wise Mornington Peninsula co-founder and Plastic Free Places program co-ordinator Birte Moliere is keen to see it happen. She explains: “The problem with single-use plastic is that most of it is not recycled and instead ends up in landfill or as litter along 

our beaches, waterways and eventually in the bay.” 

Ain’t that the truth? We’ve all seen bits and bobs of plastic washing up on our sandy shores. 

Earlier this year Mornington Peninsula Magazine let you know about the national Plastic Free Places program run by Boomerang Alliance and we thought you’d like to hear about the outcome. Seventeen Mount Martha venues signed up to this innovative trial designed to eliminate fossil fuel-based plastic packaging, and the result has been remarkable. In just over three months this group of future forward-thinking eco-initiators have collectively eliminated 30,436 single-use plastic takeaway items – and that’s not including plastic bags.

Birte continues: “This is a great news story. Plastic can take over 1000 years to break down. In Australia alone, 2.7 million disposable coffee cups end up in landfill every day. That’s just one of the items the program is tackling.” 

Dan Force, the owner of Via Battisti in Mount Martha, joins in. “We stopped using our keep cups at the beginning of restrictions but began using them again in early July. All keep cups have to be washed before being returned.” Other cafes are also working hard to encourage the continued use of reusable cups under the #contactlesscoffee campaign. Dan continues: “Our regular coffee cups have become more sustainable too. They are made from 100 per cent recycled cardboard and are completely compostable. We also have our own range of reusable takeaway cups and are looking into having dine-in cups made from coffee husks.”

Waste Wise Mornington Peninsula encourages all readers to ask their favourite cafes to accept reusable cups and join the contactless coffee campaign. The group will have a guide and poster available on its website that it will share with the community in the next two weeks. 

The Plastic Free Places program trial is supported by Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, Beach Patrol, Balcombe Estuary Reserves Group, Boomerang Alliance, Boomerang Bags, Dolphin Research Institute, Mount Martha Life Saving Club and RAW Travel. Briars Ward councillor Rosie Clark says: “The Shire sponsored Waste Wise Mornington Peninsula to support the Boomerang Alliance-led Plastic Free Places trial and we are proud to be extending our commitment to support local businesses.” Mornington Peninsula Shire Mayor Sam Hearn congratulated the town on being one of the two precincts in the state to complete the trial. 

The council has adopted a single-use plastics policy and beyond zero waste strategy which will see single-use plastic phased out in all council facilities and land, while the zero-waste strategy focuses on no more waste to landfill and building a circular economy.

Check out @WasteWisePeninsula/ on Facebook to find out more and watch out for the Waste Wise Mornington Peninsula website launching soon.

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