Council to phase out plastic straws, bottles at events
PLASTIC straws, helium balloons and single-use plastic bottles could be banned from Toowoomba Regional Council events and institutions by the end of the year, following an impassioned plea from Cr Nancy Sommerfield.
The councillors voted today to explore how the TRC could cut non-recyclable items from its events and daily use, as well as revamping its procurement process to include recycling-friendly criteria and policies to contractors.
The amended motion at the ordinary meeting was sparked by Cr Sommerfield's initial bid to "commit" to cutting out the single-use products.
In a fiery speech in the council chambers, she accused her colleagues of staying silent on the issue after she raised it earlier this year.
"When I first emailed the CEO about this back in March, there was an opportunity for somebody else to come forward and (vote to) workshop this - nobody said a word," she said.
"We're either committed to doing this, or we can do another talk piece for another six months."
The original motion was defeated, with Crs Bill Cahill and Anne Glasheen concerned that not enough workshopping had been done to commit to a ban, but supported the secondary motion.
Speaking after the meeting, Cr Sommerfield said she was happy to see the issue of single use plastics given the attention it deserved.
"It's on the agenda finally - finally we're going to talk about it," she said.
"It means we are going to move forward, we are going to get an outcome - we've just got to go around the circles."
Cr Sommerfield said a potential revamp of the TRC's tender process to give more weight to green-friendly bids would arguably have a greater long-term impact.
"That's the exciting part - to be able to have recycling in our procurement policy would be a win for the community at the environment," she said.