Ban on single-use plastic bags and drinking straws could cost Georges River Council

Straw poll: Georges River Council has looked at the costs and potenial loss of revenue from its ban on single-use plastic bags and straws at its venues and will press on with the ban despite the costs.
Straw poll: Georges River Council has looked at the costs and potenial loss of revenue from its ban on single-use plastic bags and straws at its venues and will press on with the ban despite the costs.

A ban on single-use plastics may cost Georges River Council with a potential reduction in bookings of council-owned venues for private functions, a report warns.

Last July, Georges River Council slapped an immediate ban on the use of single-use plastic straws and bags at council-owned venues and at future council-run functions and events.

Plastic straws were removed from the Marana Auditorium and the Councillor’s Suite and replaced with paper straws.

And balloons will no longer be handed out at council-run events such as Australia Day or Lunar New Year.

In future, the council will require stallholders and sponsors to agree to new terms and conditions which prevent single-use plastics including balloons being used or distributed at future council events.

Following its decision to ban single-use plastic bags and straws, the council prepared a report looking at the risk and financial implications of the ban.

The report warns that there could be impacts and cost implications for catering contractors at Jubilee Stadium.

“Potential customers may feel that implementing the single-use plastics ban for their private functions will be onerous and more costly,” a council staff report said.

“There are impacts and cost implications for the catering contractors at Jubilee Stadium.

“Plastic cups are currently required for licensing compliance in public bars. Bottled soft drinks are currently packaged in single-use plastics.

“The catering contractors at Jubilee Stadium are reviewing their use of single-use plastics across all their large stadium contracts and will explore the cost of providing compostable cups while meeting licensing standards.”

While Bayside and Sutherland Shire Councils have not banned single-use plastics, other Sydney councils have including Inner West, Northern Beaches, Canterbury-Bankstown, Randwick and Blacktown.

Georges River Council will press on with the ban despite the costs.

The council’s next step in the implementation of the ban is to develop guidelines for all council events to include no single-use plastics and promote the use of recyclable and compostable food containers.

Following the introduction of the guidelines, the council will have a 12-month transition period  before a preference system for accepting stallholders for council events is introduced.

The council will develop an education program to assist stallholders to transition to single-use plastics.

And it will investigate the costs of providing soft plastics recycling collection for bubble wrap and shrink-wrap items.

The council will allocate $10,000 for the education program and $15,000 for the purchase of sustainability packs for its meetings.

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