Industry leaders from the hospitality, accommodation, events and property sectors have joined forces with the City of Sydney to reduce single-use plastics.
More than 30 organisations have signed the Sydney Single-use Pledge, including the Sydney Opera House, Atlassian, Fox Studios and Star Entertainment Group.
Under the new pledge, businesses commit to implementing at least four actions that will reduce reliance on single-use plastic items.
The City of Sydney has taken a platinum pledge, committing to phasing out seven single-use items in its buildings, at its own venues and at events within local government areas.
According to Lord Mayor Clover Moore, Sydney will eliminate or reduce the use of bottled water, plastic straws, plastic serve ware, promotional flyers, single-use cups and single-use plastic giveaways.
“Studies show that up to one million plastic drinks bottles are purchased globally every minute, but less than 50 per cent are collected for recycling,” Ms Moore said.
“Plastic straws can last up to 600 years and many end up in our beautiful harbour and waterways. It is shameful that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.”
The initiative was driven by City of Sydney-led groups Sustainable Destination Partnership, Better Buildings Partnership and CitySwitch.
Ms Moore said by acting together, businesses can reduce their impact on the environment and show the world Sydney is leading the way to a zero waste future.
“The City has set bold targets to reach zero waste by 2030. We must reduce the amount of waste we produce, recycle as much as possible and treat what’s left over in the most sustainable way,” Ms Moore said.
“I congratulate the businesses who have signed this pledge, and urge others to get on board and commit to phasing out single-use plastic because it’s better for business and better for the environment.”
YHA, a budget travel accommodation provider, CEO Julian Ledger said the plastics pledge closely aligns with the organisation’s values and guests expectations.
“YHA Australia is striving towards sustainability, including a ban on the sale of bottled water at major youth hostels,” Mr Ledge said.
“By providing chilled water fountains and re-usable bottles, around 40,000 less single-use water bottles will be sold each year and travellers will be educated about how drinking tap water in Australia is safe.”
Property group GPT head of sustainability Steve Ford said organisations have a big part to play in fight against plastic.
“GPT recognises that waste is being generated at unsustainable rates. We’ve adopted a ‘closed loop’ objective to manage materials that tenants dispose of,” Mr Ford said.
“We recognise that wherever possible, it’s better to eliminate unnecessary single-use items. The single-use pledge is a call to action for all organisations to acknowledge they have a major role to play in tackling the problem of single-use items.”
Allianz Social Impact Manager Charis Martin-Ross said plastic is an issue that requires a united response.
“As businesses and as a community we need to come together to take action to reduce our reliance on single-use plastics such as straws, coffee cups and plastic bags,” Ms Martin-Ross said.
“That’s why Allianz is proud to sign this pledge and join the City of Sydney and the broader Sydney community in tackling this serious issue.”