Friday, March 1, 2024

Single use plastics the last straw for young Rockhampton advocate

Nine-year-old ‘Straw No More’ advocate, Charlie Erlewein, stepped up to the Rockhampton Regional Council podium today to deliver a strong message to her community: it’s time to make the switch from single use plastics.

Mayor Tony Williams said Council was honoured to receive Charlie’s deputation.  

“It is wonderful to hear such a young voice speak so well about such an important topic,” Mayor Williams said.

“I really want to thank Charlie for approaching us.

“It’s a great reminder that each and every one of us can make a difference – we can speak out, we can make changes in our daily lives, and we can support businesses who do the same.”

Councillor for Waste and Recycling, Shane Latcham said Charlie’s timing couldn’t be better.

“The State Government single use plastics ban kicks in on 1 September, and I know for many businesses the transition can seem like a hassle,” Cr Latcham said.

“However, today Charlie illustrated to us all why this change is so important.

“I would like to remind local businesses who are making the switch that they can access free support with the help of Plastic Free CQ, a program supported by Rockhampton Regional Council.

“I really want to congratulate the businesses who have shown initiative by signing up for this program but I also want to say to other business owners that it is not too late if they are yet to make the switch.”

Plastic Free CQ Coordinator Jo Stoyel said the initiative is part of the national Plastic Free Places program run by the Boomerang Alliance, Australia’s peak not-for-profit waste organisation.

“The Plastic Free CQ program is growing momentum, with over 40 members and provides guidance and information on the single-use plastic ban and sustainable options for food retail’ businesses,” Ms Stoyel said.

“The positive impact of the program to date has seen 22,274 pieces of plastic eliminated. It’s fantastic to see food retail businesses want to make changes before the single-use plastic ban commences, but it is absolutely not too late for more businesses to reach out!”

Water and Environmental Sustainability Councillor, Donna Kirkland said that with so many sustainable alternatives available, reducing single use plastics is becoming easier and Council has already begun to make the switch.

“As we move towards zero waste, Council has already made the switch within each of its internal lunch rooms, training rooms and customer-facing facilities,” Cr Kirkland said.

“Staff are encouraged to cater smart to avoid waste, choose to reuse products from kitchens and catering kits and finally use compostable products where other reusable items are not available.

“Through our Living Sustainably program, we have also been sharing hints and tips to help individuals and households make the switch to more sustainable options.

“Plastic Free CQ is a fantastic program full of information to help local food businesses, and with the ban coming into effect, I would urge those business owners to reach out and make the most of the program.”

Businesses in the Rockhampton Region can join Plastic Free CQ by heading to

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