Councillor Emilia Sterjova is encouraging City of Whittlesea takeaway businesses to accept reusable containers and practice sustainability methods. Nelly El-Azar has already significantly reduced plastic use at El-Azar Take Away. ​

By Evelyn Leckie

MORE eateries in the City of Whittlesea are being encouraged to accept reusable containers from customers picking up their takeaway meals, as part of a council program to reduce single-use plastic.

Whittlesea councillor Emilia Sterjova successfully moved a motion to reduce single-use plastic in the City of Whittlesea at this month’s council meeting, with all attending councillors supporting a ‘bring your own container’ program.

The program will commence next month and council will work with food businesses who voluntarily decide to take part in reducing single-use plastic, meaning businesses can accept and encourage customers to bring their own reusable takeaway containers when picking up their food order.

Nelly El-Azar from El-Azar Takeaway said her business already aimed to reduce single use plastic.

“If people come in for a takeaway coffee – I definitely accept keep cups,” Ms El-Azar said.
“We are reducing plastic use wherever we can – I try not to encourage using plastic bags.”
Cr Sterjova said the program would be terrific for the community.

“We can see our council is passionate about environmental issues – it would be leading other councils to be creative with the way we deal with our waste,” she said.

Council will undertake promotion and community education in the lead up to the start of the program.

“I encourage any local businesses in the area to contact City of Whittleseaif they’re interested in partaking in the program so they can accept reusable containers from their customers and help us become a more environmentally friendly council,” Cr Sterjova said.

The program comes as Victoria gears up for a state-wide ban on single-use plastic bags that will also start next month.

A survey by council officers showed 88 per cent of Whittlesea food businesses would support a ‘bring your own container’ program.

There are no current provisions in the Victorian Food Act 1984 or the Code of the PrimeSafe or Dairy Food Safety Victoria Regulations that prohibits stores from accepting reusable customer containers.