Conservatives should advocate not only living within our financial means, but also living within our environmental means.
The NSW Liberal Government has one of Australia's most ambitious emissions reduction and renewable energy plans.
From next week, NSW also starts the next stage of one of Australia's most ambitious single use plastic waste programs.
I've been passionate about plastic waste throughout my political career, especially after spending a day walking around Towra Point in 2012 observing the shocking accumulation of rubbish. Single-use plastic items and packaging make up 60 per cent of all litter in NSW.
Left unchecked, by 2050 there'll be more plastic by weight in the ocean than fish.
So in 2016 when I was Environment Minister, we legislated a modern container deposit scheme. Since then over 7.4 billion drink containers have been recovered and recycled through Return and Earn, dramatically reducing their number in local litter streams.
Next week we start a ban on single use plastic bags. From November this expands to single-use plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates, bowls and cotton buds; expanded polystyrene foodware and cups; and rinse-off personal care products containing plastic microbeads.
These phase outs will stop almost 2.7 billion items of plastic litter from entering our natural environment and waterways over 20 years.
We're helping small businesses get ready for the changes this year by engaging the National Retail Association to deliver a comprehensive education campaign to more than 40,000 businesses across NSW. The Association is running a retailer education campaign, conducting store visits, and providing online webinars and resources to help businesses make the transition away from problematic single-use plastics.
There's a free hotline (1800 844 946) to offer businesses, community organisations and consumers advice on the single-use plastic bans.
This is a commonsense plan to help preserve our precious environment for future generations.
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