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Hobart City Council to get rid of plastic food containers

Hobart City Council is phasing out plastic food containers used by takeaway food stores.

The ban on single use, petroleum-based plastic containers and utensils by 2020 comes after the council voted 10-1 to amend draft environmental health bylaws.

The plan is replace them with compostable containers.

The council’s council's Zero Waste to Landfill strategy will see a special facility built to deal with the waste.

 Greens Alderman Bill Harvey said the public was behind the initiative.

"People are aware now; so many Australians watched War on Waste on the ABC and that's influenced their understanding of plastic pollution, so this is something that I think now communities expect," Alderman Harvey told the ABC.

"We're responsible for waste management in the city, so we've taken a lead.

He said he did not expect much resistance as a third of Hobart’s food retailers already use compostable containers.

"Eventually we'll have a compost system for commercial outlets and all the compostable organic material from cafes and restaurants will go off to a facility," he told the ABC.

"But we haven't got that yet. That's one of our ambitions."

He said the council would lobby the State Government to consider broadening the scope of its 2013 plastic shopping bags laws banning lightweight plastic shopping bags but allowing biodegradable plastic bags and heavier "boutique-style" bags, which can be re-used.

"While they're reviewing the bag ban they should also consider how they could help prevent other forms of plastic pollution entering the environment," he told the ABC.

Steve Old from the Tasmanian Hospitality Association was upset the council had done it without consulting food businesses.

"You'd hope before they introduce these policies, they'd come and talk to the people who actually are affected by them. They need to talk to businesses to find out if they can actually meet those timelines,” Mr Old told the ABC.

"If it's going to make it more expensive for business, then someone is going to end up paying.

"Margins in restaurants are not high anyway - if you add a cost then something has to give.”

by Leon Gettler, August 9th 2017