Town of Bassendean bans single-use plastic at events

Stock image.
Stock image.

BASSENDEAN council wants residents eating from biodegradable utensils and sipping on eco-friendly straws at all future Town events – single-use plastics are now banned.

But not all councillors are happy with the decision.

Councillor Sarah Quinton put forward a motion at Tuesday night’s meeting to ban the use of items such as plastic straws, cups, plates and bags at events and festivals organised or sponsored by the Town of Bassendean.

It would also look to ban rubber balloons.

The motion was backed by Mayor Renee McLennan and councillors Jai Wilson, Kathryn Hamilton and Melissa Mykytiuk.

Former Mayor John Gangell was the only councillor to dissent.

Deputy Mayor Bob Brown was absent.

The ban is to take effect immediately, but vendors will be given a six-month grace period to seek items made from environmentally-friendly materials.

Town of Bassendean staff recommended the Bassendean Visual Arts Awards in September be the first event to aim for plastic-free proceedings.

Cr Quinton told council plastics had “become the greatest moral and environmental issue of our time”.

She said the State Government had “only gone half way” in banning solely plastic bags.

“If you don’t know the scourge of plastic you’re living under a rock,” she said.

“If vendors do not know that there are alternatives out there, then get with the program.

“This will not detract people coming to the Town, I think it will attract more people.

“We will say ‘we care about our environment’.”

Speaking against the motion, Cr Gangell demanded to know why there had not been any community consultation.

He said “clearly this motion isn’t placed for anybody who’s organised or endeavoured to assist in staging a festival”.

He said it should be worked towards over an “extended period”.

“It’s very onerous when the Town is banning all single-use plastics,” he said.

“Good luck trying to have another festival, another event in this town.

“We’re trying to kill off vitality with that motion.”

Cr Quinton responded by saying “if you’re going to talk about a consultation period, time is up. Time is up on the planet”.

Ms McLennan accepted Cr Gangell’s point that it would be difficult but said it was “important we take ownership of these problems”.

Cr Mykytiuk said it was an opportunity to show leadership in making a decision without consultation.

Cr Wilson said it was “a very easy and cheap thing to do”.

Cr Hamilton reminded Cr Gangell it was only for Town-sponsored events, not all events.

Other points in the motion included:

– the Mayor write to businesses in the Town outlining the single-use plastics ban and encourage them to seek alternatives.

– the Mayor write to Hawaiian shopping centre about installing a communal drop-off point for cloth bags for shoppers who forget their re-usable bags.

– the Mayor write to Coles informing them of the ban and request they cease using plastic wrapping, particularly on fruit and vegetables.

– the Town organise an education campaign about single-use plastics.