Australia’s leading ocean conservation group has welcomed new state government proposals for a second wave of plastic items to be banned.
The Queensland and South Australia governments have today released proposals for a new set of plastic items to be phased out in coming years, subject to public consultation. The states join the ACT government who opened consultation on their second and third tranche of plastics to be banned just weeks ago.
Included in the list of new items proposed for phase out are plastics such as thick plastic shopping bags, fruit & vegetable barrier bags, plastic takeaway containers, and plastic cups and lids.
The ACT, QLD and SA are currently the only jurisdictions with plastic bans in effect. WA and NSW have plastic bans coming into effect in 2022.
The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has described today’s announcement as an essential next step in the war on plastic pollution.
“These were the first states and territories to ban single-use plastics, and today they have shown they intend to continue leading the fight against ocean plastic pollution,” said Shane Cucow, Plastics Campaign Manager at AMCS.
“Earlier this year, we saw sickening reports of dead and sick baby turtles washing up on Queensland beaches after swallowing plastic.
“With earth safe alternatives now widely available, we have to get rid of hard to recycle plastics such as plastic cups, thick plastic bags, and plastic takeaway containers.
“These laws have been widely popular with Australians, and we are pleased to see governments acting on calls to expand their single-use plastics bans.”
Yet while Queensland, South Australia and the ACT raced to expand their bans on single-use plastics, Mr Cucow said other jurisdictions were yet to act.
“While these states race ahead, Tasmania and the Northern Territory haven’t left the starting gate,” he added.
“Yet they are home to some of our most incredible ocean wildlife, including Australia’s iconic turtles, dugongs and seals.
“Every day they wait, more plastic flows into our oceans and waterways, endangering ocean animals.”
A comparison table detailing all of the new announcements is available here.
Graphical assets comparing all Australian state and territory commitments on single-use plastics are available here.
Notes to editors
Australia’s National Packaging Targets set a goal to phase out problematic single-use plastics by 2025.
South Australia’s ban on single-use plastics commenced on 1 March 2021, banning single-use plastic straws, drink stirrers and cutlery. On 1 March 2022, polystyrene food & beverage containers as well as oxo-degradable plastics will be added to the ban. Details here.
The ACT Government’s ban on single-use plastic cutlery, drink stirrers and polystyrene food and beverage containers commenced 1 July 2021, with straws, fruit & veggie barrier bags, cotton bud sticks and degradable plastics on the list to be phased out on 1 July 2022 following further consultation. Details here.
The Queensland Government’s ban on single-use plastics commenced on 1 September 2021, banning single-use plastic straws, drink stirrers, cutlery, plates, bowls and polystyrene food & beverage containers. Details here.
The New South Wales Government has just passed laws to ban single-use plastic bags, plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates and bowls, expanded polystyrene food service items, plastic cotton bud sticks, and microbeads in cosmetics, commencing in 2022. Details here.
The Western Australia Government has committed to ban plastic plates, bowls, cups, cutlery, stirrers, straws, thick plastic bags, polystyrene food containers, and helium balloon releases by 2022. In stage two, now to be completed by 2023, takeaway coffee cups/lids containing plastic, plastic barrier/produce bags, cotton buds with plastic shafts, polystyrene packaging, microbeads and oxo-degradable plastics will be banned. Details here.
Victoria‘s government has committed to ban single-use plastics by February 2023, including single-use plastic straws, cutlery, plates, drink stirrers, polystyrene food and drink containers, and plastic cotton bud sticks. In correspondence with AMCS, the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has confirmed oxo-degradable plastics will also be included in the ban. Details here.
Tasmania and the Northern Territory have made no commitments to ban single-use plastics.