Local group lead the way in QLD plastic bag ban
YEPPOON plastic ban pioneer Jo Stoyel sat glued to her screen on Tuesday as she watched her hard work finally pay off.
After four years of rallies, petitions and endless meetings, single use plastic bags will be banned in Queensland after State Parliament unanimously passed new laws on Tuesday night.
The president of local, grass-roots community group Plastic Bag Free Livingstone said she watched nervously as Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga proudly spoke in the State Parliament this week.
Mrs Lauga spoke wholeheartedly in favour of the Waste Reduction and Recycling Amendment Bill 2017 which also introduced Queensland's container refund scheme.
"We are so happy with the end result and to hear Brittany mention Livingstone and our committee's influence several times was great," Jo said.
Jo said the group was the first regional community effort to push for the ban back in 2015 and was thankful for Mrs Lauga's support from day one.
With the help of fellow committee members, local community groups and Livingstone Shire Council, she said this was a result of what just a handful of people could do.
"We have worked with some amazing people along the way and it's been a true team effort," Jo said.
"It's our duty to ensure the little things we do within our community don't hurt our animals and reef life."
Mrs Lauga knew the campaign would always be a long battle but said Queensland could now look forward to a future of cleaner beaches and a new generation of environmentalists.
"Many of the most passionate advocates for these reforms are Queensland school children... I get letters every day from school kids around the state," Mrs Lauga said.
"By passing this Bill we say to our young people that we value our wildlife, especially our marine creatures like turtles, sea birds and dugongs."
Jo said the ban was a huge step for Queensland but she always kept her eyes open.
"There's still some education around the legislation which will need to be implemented," Jo said.
"But most retailers and community groups involved have already stopped using plastic bags."
For the people who are daunted by the existence of single use plastic bags, Jo said it's all about lifestyle change.
"One you minimise your waste you don't have a lot going in your bin," she said,
"People need to rethink the way they live and maybe add a veggie patch or compost bin into their yards."
Single use plastic bags will be phased out by July 1, 2018.