NEW CAMPAIGN LAUNCHES AHEAD OF PLASTIC BAN

Shocking images of plastic pollution in the ocean and a turtle choking on a plastic bag feature in a thought-provoking new advertising campaign released today ahead of the NSW Government’s November single-use plastic ban.

Minister for Environment James Griffin said the confronting images are an important reminder about why the state is banning certain single-use plastics.

“Our new Stop it and Swap it campaign is a stark reminder about why the NSW single-use plastic bans are critical for our environment – as consumers we must all change our behaviour,” Mr Griffin said.

“About 95 per cent of the litter on beaches and waterways comes from suburban streets, and the vast majority of that litter is single-use plastic.

“The amount of plastic in our oceans is predicted to outweigh the amount of fish by 2050. That is a horrifying prediction and a call to action to ensure our wildlife, like the turtle featured in the campaign, can have a brighter future.

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“The NSW plastic bans are just the beginning of our massive shift away from single-use plastic, and they’ll prevent 2.7 billion items of plastic litter from entering the environment over the next 20 years.”

Plastic packaging and single-use plastic items make up around 60 per cent of all litter in NSW, which is why the NSW Government is banning more single-use items from November.

Lightweight single-use plastic bags were banned from 1 June, and from 1 November, the NSW Government is banning single-use items including:

· plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates, bowls and cotton buds
· food ware and cups made from expanded polystyrene
· rinse-off personal care products containing plastic microbeads.

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Taronga Wildlife Hospital Rescue and Rehabilitation Coordinator Libby Hall said they treat an array of wildlife cases each year, and sadly, many of these arrive at Taronga suffering the impacts of having ingested plastic.

“Just recently, we admitted a Green Turtle hatchling that was only a few weeks old and excreted plastics for several days after it arrived,” Ms Hall said.

“While thankfully this little hatchling is still with us, sadly many have not been so lucky and it’s a sobering reminder of how our actions can have devastating impacts on endangered wildlife.

“Nearly every marine turtle we’ve had in has been impacted by plastic in some way – either through ingestion or entanglement. Many of these animals come in deceased, and there are only few that survive.

“So if you have the choice not to use plastic, please don’t use it.”

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The easy-to-understand messaging of the Stop it and Swap It campaign aims to raise awareness about the single-use plastic bans and will be translated into multiple languages to reach diverse communities across the state.

The advertising campaign, running from 21 September, is rolling out across radio, print, social media, out-of-home and digital and is expected to reach millions of people.

The NSW Government engaged the National Retail Association (NRA) to provide education and support to more than 40,000 businesses and community organisations to implement the changes.

The NSW Government has also partnered with Great Plastic Rescue to collect excess stock from small and medium businesses for recycling and remanufacturing into new items.

For more information about the NSW single-use plastic bans, visit http://www.dpie.nsw.gov.au/plastics-ban