Solving Sydney's plastic bottle problem

Sydney Water Corporation

Friday, 11 August, 2017

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Sydney Water is removing over 1 million plastic bottles from Sydney waterways each year — and is calling on customers to help with the problem.

“We are removing rubbish from 75 gross pollutant traps every few weeks from waterways across Sydney,” said Robert Allen, a service delivery officer at Sydney Water.

“On average we remove about 700 m3, or about 7 tonnes, of plastic bottles from our traps each year, which is the equivalent of about 2900 wheelie bins full of plastic bottles. Placed side to side, this number of wheelie bins would stretch for over 1 km.”

Allen revealed that Sydney Water spends about $420,000 each year removing rubbish from gross pollutant traps, about $150,000 of which is spent on the removal and disposal of plastic bottles.

“These are the figures just for Sydney Water. Councils across Sydney are facing the same problems, with similar costs to remove plastic bottles from their litter traps,” said Allen.

So what’s the solution? According to Allen, “Sydney Water and the Sydney Councils can do our part to remove as much litter from waterways as possible, but if residents want truly clean waterways, it is up to all of us to take action.

“Sydney has some of the best drinking water in the world. So, choosing tap water over bottled water is not only a safe choice, it’s one that can significantly reduce the number of plastic bottles being used in the first place. And if everyone disposed of their rubbish correctly, it wouldn’t end up flowing into our rivers and waterways.”

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