Single-use takeaway litter and overflowing bins are the focus of a pilot project in Brunswick Heads.
Byron Shire Council is offering a free return and reuse scheme for Brunswick Heads food businesses. Businesses will be supplied with reusable options and the council will help with systems for their collection and sanitisation.
The project will also trial new public place bins for different waste types in popular Brunswick Heads parks and bin sensors will be installed to monitor overflow.
Council received a $75,000 from the Environment Protection Authority’s Council Litter Prevention Grants program for the pilot.
Sarah Child, council’s Resource Recovery Education Officer, said a bin audit revealed that takeaway litter had almost doubled in Brunswick Heads from 2017 to 2021, while all other litter types had decreased.
“The downside of so much good takeaway food in Bruns is this problem we now see with single-use takeaway litter and waste shoved into overflowing bins, or, left on the ground to end up in the area’s waterways,” Child said.
“For council, the answer is not simply putting in more bins or picking up more litter. It’s about investing in better practices and normalising reuse.”
Council is also partnering with the Circular Cafes program that aims to divert 726 tonnes of commercial food waste per year. As part of this program, Brunswick Heads businesses will be supplied with an organics green bin collection and education materials to reduce waste.
Kristie Brown, Environment Protection Authority Acting Executive Director Engagement Education and Programs, said the EPA is proud to support council’s innovative project that targets both businesses and consumers.
“Everyone has a role to play in reducing their reliance on single-use or problematic plastics and we’re investing in projects that can make a real difference to communities across New South Wales.
“Council’s project is a fantastic example of local action that will drive behaviour change through practical solutions. We encourage the Brunswick Heads business community to get involved and look forward to hearing about the outcomes.”
The project will be based in Brunswick Heads but has the potential to be implemented in other areas in the future.
The project is a NSW Environment Protection Authority, Waste Less Recycle More initiative funded from the waste levy’.
For more information, visit: https://www.byron.nsw.gov.au/