Idea floated to turn plastic into profit, jobs, education
AN IDEA has been floated to transform plastic trash into treasure and could help create cleaner Whitsunday beaches and local jobs in the process.
Katter's Australia Party Whitsunday candidate Ciaron Paterson would like to see a recycling plant established in Mackay, Proserpine or Airlie Beach, turning waste plastic into plastic sheeting and other useful products while also creating jobs.
"We all know that plastic is recyclable and bad for the environment, which is why we have to bring our own bags to the shops now, but I want to see more than social media virtue signalling," he said.
"We should be turning this trash into treasure, not just money, but jobs, education, innovation and tourism benefits too."
Mr Paterson was recently approached by artist David Day, who creates works using plastic litter from the local beaches, including thongs, toothbrushes, plastic bags and bottles.
David has won accolades for his work and worked extensively with recycling groups in the Whitsundays.
"David tells me when he sets off beachcombing, he never knows what he'll find except there'll definitely be plastic there," he said.
"Imagine if we got that plastic off our beaches and started recycling it locally?"
Mr Paterson believes a plastic recycling plant would also provide an ideal venue for highlighting the damage plastics cause in the ocean.
Mr Paterson's announcement comes off the back of KAP's pledge to replace plastic drinking straws with paper straws.
KAP's Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto is a former tourism operator who worked out on water and saw a large increase in the amount of plastic out in the ocean and washing up on beaches.
"If you've ever seen a plastic bag or straw in the water it looks just like food to a turtle and we will support anything that reduces the number of straws in the ocean," Mr Dametto said.
"We are seeing more operators across North Queensland making the switch to paper straws and we applaud them for that."