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Speech: In Support of BYO Containers

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (17:04): I rise today to briefly add my support for this very sensible bill. As my colleague the Hon. Robert Simms has noted, this bill is an extremely simple amendment to the Civil Liability Act that aligns with the general population's desire to cut back on single-use plastics and, indeed, the Marshall government's desire to phase out single-use plastics, which the Greens have happily supported, regardless of our political colours.

By now I believe we are all aware of the dangers of plastic not only to humans but to all other forms of life and our environment as well. Studies have shown that toxic chemicals leach out of the plastic into our food and water and then into us. Exposure to these chemicals has been linked to cancer, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and many other health issues.

Plastic poses a threat to wildlife who mistake it as food and eat it. Birds that have slowly starved to death have been found with stomachs full of plastic that they cannot digest which leaves little to no room for actual food they need to survive. It litters the sides of our roads, our parks, our beaches, our oceans. It is everywhere, literally everywhere. Microplastics have been found in the placenta of parents after giving birth, and we consume approximately a credit card's worth of plastic each week. We have plastic inside us right now.

There is a clear rationale for reducing plastic use. The why is quite simple; the how is where things of course become a little more nuanced. Currently, many businesses are reluctant to allow BYO containers due to the potential liability should the consumer become ill. This bill places the responsibility on the consumer to ensure the container is clean and suitable for the purpose for which it will be used, with the general exception where the person selling the food did so knowing the food was not fit for human consumption.

This is a simple change that could allow consumers and businesses to reduce their plastic use significantly and help us move towards a more sustainable future where we can still enjoy the food or the drink we love but without the harmful plastics. With that, I commend the bill to the house, and I hope this is an instance where commonsense prevails.

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