Hobart plastic takeaway container ban could have legs in Launceston

A Launceston woman is lobbying Northern aldermen to adopt a ban on plastic takeaway containers.

Last week, the City of Hobart council voted to set in motion legislation that would see single-use plastic containers and cutlery phased out for the city’s food retailers by 2020.

Under the amendment to the council’s environmental health bylaws, the containers would be replaced with compostable alternatives.

Trish Haeusler, of Plastic Free Launceston, said she has written to City of Launceston council, and its aldermen, in the wake of the move.

“This is something that Plastic Free Launceston really supports, and would like to see here,” Ms Haeusler said.

City of Launceston general manager Robert Dobrzynski said the council had not considered the matter itself, but has been watching the initiative from Hobart “with interest”.

Mr Dobrzynski acknowledged that the plastic products at hand presented a challenge, but also said more businesses in Launceston had already began choosing compostable containers.

“That's something we're keen to encourage because we want to reduce pressure on our landfill cells, and reduce pressure on the environment,” he said.

He said the council was eager to progress initiatives that reduced waste, and increased recycling and reuse.

The Sunday Examiner asked its readers for their thoughts on the proposed ban.

A poll found that 60.96 per cent of respondents did support a ban on single-use plastic takeaway containers, while 12.19 per cent didn’t think they should be completely banned, by their use should be reduced.

Some questioned why the containers had to be banned, while others said they continued to reuse the containers after their initial purpose.

Others questioned the cost to businesses.

“How many times are people reusing [containers]?,” Ms Haeusler asked.

“If you’re reusing them, good, but you need to keep them forever because that’s how long the plastic is going to be around for.”

She acknowledged that there was a “big difference” in price for businesses between the plastic takeaway containers and their environmentally friendly counterparts.

But she said she believed it could long-term benefit a business, with more consumers choosing to shop with there.

Ms Haeusler said conscientious takeaway customers could begin to create their own change by bringing their own containers to be filled, or just choosing not to buy from shops that did not offer “alternatives”.