By Rehila Hydari
The team of Young students from Wangaratta are attempting to pave the way for Victoria’s recycling future.
The Wangaratta team brought in a Bill to Youth Parliament, proposing the mandatory use of biodegradable bags, leaving behind the archaic plastic bags.
The team delivered their bill of ‘Mandatory use of Biodegradable and Recyclable Bags.’
Wangaratta team member, Ashley Fuller believes the consequences of using plastic bags are “detrimental to our marine life and our environment,” but alternatives can be found that are already in use by other states. According to Fuller, these are “more beneficial and less damaging to the environment and can easily be enforced.”
The government argued that a more “practical and pragmatic solution is required to address the issue but the bill … has instead established an impractical solution. That is too ambitious to be imposed.”
Fuller opposed and said that the “bill won’t provide an immediate solution but the aim is long term where it will benefit the future of Australia.”
Concerns about the implementation of the bill and “that biodegradable bags may not provide a comprehensible solution to plastic bags” were raised by the government, as there will be no guarantee that those bags will go in compost or be reused.
But the Wangaratta team are adamant that biodegradable bags are the solution. They argued that the system currently in use in Wangaratta is working well. The Wangaratta council provides households with free compostable liners that they can use to put in their compostable waste and it won’t end up in landfill but to a commercial composting facility, where that can be used to improve soil health for primary production and the health of Council’s Parks and Gardens.
The team believe the same type of compostable, biodegradable and recyclable bags can replace plastic bags all together.
Through introducing their Bill, the students hope to see the same positive outcome for the rest of Victoria, as they have witnessed in their community.
The Bill was passed with a unanimous decision from all members and will be handed over to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change and Minister for Suburban Development, the Hon Liliana D’Ambrosio.