Lean green meal machine eliminates single-use plastic
By delivering its meals in cardboard boxes and washable crochet string bags, Bega Valley’s Meals on Wheels service is ready for the 1 November single-use plastic ban and is well and truly earning its moniker “The Lean Green Meal Machine”.
To mark National Meals on Wheels day the Bega Valley team will be delivering nutritious meals and conducting welfare checks for many of its vulnerable clients. Its essential community service supports almost two hundred vulnerable people in the area.
The Environment Protection Authority’s (EPA) Executive Director of Engagement, Education and Programs, Liesbet Spanjaard, said Bega Valley’s Meals on Wheels demonstrates how easy it is to eliminate single-use plastics.
“With more than 26,000 meals delivered each year, the organisation has relied on plastic products for years but wanted to do more to reduce their impact on the environment,” said Ms Spanjaard.
“It’s great to see their packaged meals now in cardboard and delivered in reusable bags that can be returned and washed.”
CEO of Meal on Wheels NSW, Les MacDonald said they made the switch to reusable bags before single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags were banned in June and is now prepared for the next phase of the ban.
“We have been proud to partner with the NSW Environment Protection Authority in creating more sustainable operations,” Mr MacDonald said.
“Our role is to care for people – these changes feel like a natural extension in supporting a better environment for all.”
Bega Valley’s Meals on Wheels Manager, David Atkins, said the feedback from customers and the 174 vulnerable clients the organisation supports has been very positive.
“Many of our clients say they really appreciate what we’re doing and embracing the change,” Mr Atkins said.
“They understand the environmental damage caused by single-use plastics and also remember life before them.”
From November 1, 2022, single-use plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates, bowls, cotton buds and expanded polystyrene foodware including clamshell containers, cups, plates and bowls will be banned. Rinse-off personal care products containing plastic microbeads will also be outlawed.
Single-use plastic items and packaging make up 60% of all litter in NSW. The bans on these plastic items and lightweight plastic bags are expected to prevent approximately 2.7 billion plastic items from polluting the state’s lands and waterways over the next 20 years.
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has linked up with 17 partners to raise awareness and education on the NSW Plastics Ban, including Meals on Wheels NSW.
If you have questions about the ban you can find out more online at dpie.nsw.gov.au/plastics (or dpie.nsw.gov.au/plastics-ban) or phone the National Retail Association on their free advice hotline on 1800 844 946
Claudia Odello at NSW Meals On Wheels