Sustainability ideas sought from South Australian ECEC services

Sustainability ideas sought from South Australian ECEC services

by Freya Lucas

January 15, 2019

Early childhood education and care (ECEC) services have a unique opportunity to involve children in suggesting solutions for a more sustainable future, with the announcement this week by the South Australian State Government’s of the Turning the Tide on Single-Use Plastic Products discussion paper.


ACECQA National Education Leader, Rhonda Livingstone, has said viewing children as agents capable of being active participants and enacting change in their world is integral to the guiding principles of the National Quality Framework.


Providing input to a discussion paper such as this may be a way in which services could demonstrate they are meeting National Quality Standards Element 3.2.3 – the service cares for the environment, and supports children to become environmentally responsible. Element 3.2.3 has historically been challenging for services to demonstrate and meet.


The Turning the Tide on Single-Use Plastic Products discussion paper seeks community and business views on ways to reduce the environmental impacts of plastic items frequently littered, such as coffee cups, straws and plastic bags.


Included in the discussion paper is a review of the container deposit scheme (CDS) which will look at what sort of containers should be included in the scheme and whether the refund amount should be revised.


South Australian Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said South Australia is a national leader in recycling and resource recovery and it is important to have a discussion about single-use plastics and the container deposit scheme.


“I am keen to keep South Australia at the forefront of these areas, and to maintain this position while also increasing economic activity,” Mr Speirs said.


“Plastic is a valuable material integral to modern life. But when littered, it ruins our environment’s pristine image, and harms marine and terrestrial life.


“Increasing interest and action globally is calling for a halt to the impact of single-use plastics on the environment. In October 2018, the European Union announced its intention to ban a range of single-use plastic items.


“We can take more immediate local action on items that are designed and intended for disposal after only a single use, are prone to being littered, are unlikely to be recycled and for which more sustainable alternatives are available.


“South Australia has been a leader in litter reduction and resource recovery for many years, and led the nation in 1977 with the introduction of our successful container deposit scheme.


“In addition to reducing single-use plastics, there’s also an opportunity to see whether we can further improve the scheme.


The Turning the Tide on Single-Use Plastic Products discussion paper seeks views from the community and business on what it considers are the problems associated with single-use plastic products, alternatives and if there is a need for government intervention.


Consultation runs until 22 February 2019. The discussion papers are available at