Aussie sports stars help keep Australia beautiful

Wednesday, 28 June, 2006

Australian cricket player, Glenn McGrath, is helping Keep Australia Beautiful launch its national awards program around the country this week, to recognise community initiatives that reduce plastic bag use.

The Plastic Bag Reduction Awards program is sponsored by Collex (Veolia Environmental Services) and is being rolled out nationally following the NSW pilot program.

The awards are open to community groups, schools, business and all levels of government who have demonstrated a genuine commitment to address the issue of plastic bags.

"It's up to everyone to do their bit to help keep Australia beautiful and ensure that our children and future generations have the opportunity to play in clean and open spaces. It's great that the Plastic Bag Reduction Awards will recognise the efforts people are making to reduce the use of plastic bags. Hopefully it will show others how easy it is to make a positive change to help our environment and protect wildlife." Glenn McGrath, said.

"With all the walking I do when training or competing overseas, I certainly appreciate our beautiful country and the need to keep it that way. We can all easily help reduce the amount of rubbish that ends up in our streets and waterways by simply changing a few bad habits," Jane Saville, Commonwealth Games 2006 Gold Medalist Walker and Australian Flag Bearer, said.

"The Plastic Bag Reduction Awards will show what others are doing to help the environment by cutting down the amount of plastic bags unnecessarily being used and should inspire us all to say no to plastic bags when ever we can."

Over the past few years, there have been several initiatives that have helped reduce the number of plastic bags used by Australians each year from 6.9 billion to around 4.5 billion. Keep Australia Beautiful has worked with Bunnings Warehouse to introduce a 10c Plastic Bag Levy that has resulted in a 99% reduction in plastic bag usage by Bunnings' customers, as well as helping raise valuable funds for the Keep Australia Beautiful Clean Sites and other programs.

"As a leading environmental services company, plastic bags in the waste system can pose considerable operational challenges for Collex and wider litter management issues. We are pleased that these awards can now provide formal recognition of the community's efforts to reduce plastic bag use around the country." Richard O'Keefe, Collex Project Manager, Marketing & Development, said.

"We are pleased that Collex is supporting the national rollout of the Awards following its success in NSW. We urge all Australians to reduce their reliance on single use plastic bags and our experience with Bunnings customers demonstrates that it can be done. However, with around 1% (that's 45 million bags!) ending up as litter on our streets, parks and beaches, it is imperative that more work be done in this area." Don Chambers, Keep Australia Beautiful National Chairman, added.

To enter the Plastic Bag Reduction Awards, an expression of interest form must be completed and returned by 1 August 2006, completed entry forms are due by 31 August 2006. State/Territory and National Winners will be announced in October 2006.

For further information, please visit Keep Australia Beautiful

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