Fremantle Council makes Plastic Free July declaration
The City of Fremantle has become the first local government in Australia to formally declare next month to be Plastic Free July.
The award-winning Plastic Free July campaign is a key initiative of the Plastic Free Foundation, which was started in Fremantle by founder Rebecca Prince-Ruiz in 2011.
It’s now one of the most influential environmental campaigns in the world, with millions of people across the globe taking part every year.
Fremantle Mayor Hannah Fitzhardinge said the Plastic Free July declaration continued the City’s leadership in the effort to eliminate single-use plastics.
“It’s incredible to see how a small, grassroots campaign in Fremantle has grown to become a global movement to reduce plastic pollution and the damage it does to our environment,” Mayor Fitzhardinge said.
“In making this declaration the City of Fremantle has joined many other places around the world, including New York State, to formally declare the month of July plastic free.
“As the WA government starts to phase out more plastic items, Plastic Free July provides a great opportunity to raise awareness among our residents and businesses of the alternatives to single-use plastics that are available.
“We’re here to support residents and businesses make the transition and support a city-wide approach to becoming less reliant on single-use plastics.”
Plastic Free Foundation founder Rebecca Prince-Ruiz said she welcomed the City of Fremantle’s Plastic Free July declaration.
“As a Fremantle resident I’m delighted that the City is making this proclamation and showing leadership by taking further action to end plastic waste,” Ms Prince-Ruiz said.
“This year United Nations member states unanimously agreed by 2024 to develop a global treaty to end plastic pollution.
“This declaration by the City of Fremantle is an example of local action that supports global change. Together we can turn the tide, one choice at a time.”
The City of Fremantle was one of the leaders in the push to outlaw single-use plastic shopping bags which was ultimately introduced by the state government in 2018.
The City also has a Sustainable Events Policy that prohibits the use of single-use plastics, polystyrene and Styrofoam at all City-run events, and in 2019 introduced a ban on the release of gas-filled balloons.
A key initiative for Plastic Free July this year is a three-month trial of reusable takeaway coffee cups at a number of Fremantle cafes.
The trial, conducted in partnership with Our Kinds, the Town of East Fremantle and Fremantle Ports, aims to reduce the estimated 190 million single-use coffee cups used in WA alone each year that end up as landfill or litter.
Fremantle cafes interested in participating in the trial can contact the City at email@example.com or call 1300 MY FREO (1300 693 736) and ask for Waste Services.
The City is also implementing a Keep Cup Library for internal staff, and will work with WA Plastic Free to promote the free resources available to businesses effected by the state government’s recently introduced single-use plastics ban.
Single-use plastic bowls, cups for cold beverages and hot foods, plates, cutlery, stirrers, straws, expanded polystyrene food containers, thick plastic bags and helium balloon releases were all banned in Western Australia on 1 January this year.
Enforcement of the ban will begin from 1 July following a six-month transition period to allow businesses to use up supplies and adapt to the changes.
Stage 2 of the plastics ban will begin on 1 January 2023, and will include bans on plastic barrier/produce bags, cotton buds with plastic shafts, polystyrene packaging, microbeads, oxo-degradable plastics, bowl and cup lids, polystyrene cups and coffee cups.
For more information on Plastic Free July please go to plasticfreejuly.org.