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Sydney businesses take the No Plastics Pledge

Sydney-Industry leaders from the hospitality, accommodation, events and property sectors came together with Lord Mayor Clover Moore to sign up to the Sydney Single-use Pledge.

More than 30 organisations have so far taken the pledge, including the Sydney Opera House, Fox Studios and Star Entertainment Group.

The commitment means there will be fewer plastic bottles, straws, throwaway cups and food utensils at a growing number of Sydney hotels, entertainment venues, markets, festivals, major events and outdoor spaces.

The Lord Mayor said the pledge shows Sydney businesses are determined to reduce the devastating effect single-use plastics are having on the environment.

“Acting together, we can reduce our impact on the environment and show the world that Sydney businesses are leading the way to a zero waste future,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Studies show that up to 1 million plastic drinks bottles are purchased globally every minute, but less than 50 per cent are collected for recycling.

“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.

“While recycling plays an important role in managing our waste, we need to refocus on reduction and avoidance.

“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.

“I congratulate the businesses who have signed up to this pledge, and I 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.”

Businesses from the City of Sydney-led groups Sustainable Destination Partnership, Better Buildings Partnership and CitySwitch have committed to reducing single-use items in their businesses and buildings. So far 32 organisations have signed the pledge, with more expected to join.

Ashley Hayes, product excellence and social responsibility manager at Merlin Entertainments, said the company is committed to reducing their impact on the environment across the board.

“We have seen first-hand the direct impact plastic has on marine life through our recently opened Animal Rescue Centre at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium,” Ms Hayes said.

“The first rescue patient was a green sea turtle named Matilda who was found struggling and underweight. While Matilda was successfully nursed back to health and released back into the wild in April, her rescue reinforces the devastating impact that plastic pollution is having on marine life who mistake plastic for food.

“Like many of our guests, we’re concerned about the negative environmental impact associated with the disposal of single-use plastic, such as plastic straws, bags and packaging. Supporting this pledge is another step in the right direction to ensure we continue to assess how we minimise the use of plastics within our business.”

YHA, the largest provider of budget travel accommodation in Australia, has taken the single-use pledge. 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 instead, 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 joined other businesses to show support for the Sydney Single-use Pledge. The company’s head of sustainability & energy, Steve Ford, said organisations have a big part to play.

“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.

“But 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.”

Insurance company Allianz has also signed up to the pledge. Charis Martin-Ross, senior manager social impact, said the use of plastic and plastic waste has become a major global issue.

“This 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.

“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," Ms Martin-Ross said.

Under the new environmental 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 our local government area. The City will eliminate or reduce the use of the following items:

bottled water

plastic straws

plastic serve ware, including expanded polystyrene

plastic utensils

promotional flyers

plastic single-use sampling or giveaways

single-use cups.

The City has developed guidelines to help everyone using its venues and outdoor space find sustainable alternatives to single-use items and ensure that where waste is generated, recycling is maximised: cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/Guidelines-for-single-use-items