A Bassendean councillor has called for a ban on single use plastics at university campuses in Western Australia.
Councillor Sarah Quinton put forward a motion at a recent Bassendean council meeting to ban plastics such as straws and plates from events organised or sponsored by the council.
The plastic ban was approved by the council and was made effective immediately.
Ms Quinton said she recently visited a university campus in Perth where she noticed the use of plastic at food outlets.
“I needed to buy something to eat and everything was wrapped in plastic,” she said.
“I call upon all leaders within the university campuses across Western Australia to introduce a plastics ban at their cafes and any events they hold on campuses.
“Students and staff at universities can embrace reducing single use plastic waste.
“I think universities can take up the challenge.”
Curtin University director of operations and management Graham Arndt said Curtin would consider providing incentives to not use non recyclable products before imposing a ban.
“Curtin is working towards improving its recycling,” he said.
Mr Arndt said Curtin had introduced smart bins in three locations on campus.
“Each location has a general waste bin and a recyclable waste bin,” he said.
“These bins are solar powered and compact the waste, they alert our waste team when they are nearly full and ready to be collected.
“Whilst plastic is a high component of the general waste, it isn’t the highest and hence doesn’t pose any specific plastic-only issues.”
University of Western Australia researcher and consultant Sara Hajbane conducted a study in 2017 on plastic pollution on the WA coast.
Ms Hajbane said the impact of plastic on the WA coastline was not recognised enough and was hugely under-studied.
“The impact of plastic pollution is huge, in particular micro-plastics can affect a whole species of animal such as the Western Rock Lobster,” she said.
Ms Hajbane said incentives such as keep cups at universities allowed people to bring their own cup and get a discount on coffee.
“If campuses did not have plastic cups at all, then students would adapt pretty quickly to using keep cups,” she said.
“Having single use plastics banned from campuses would definitely be helpful and equip people on how to live plastic free outside of university.”