Thursday, 01 Sep, 2022
Single-use plastic bans in Australia
Thursday, 30 Jun, 2022
Here's your comprehensive run-down of the actions each state in Australia is taking to #StemTheTide of single-use plastics!
The Queensland Government has released a statement with a 5-year roadmap for further phase-out of single-use plastics that includes:
- Bans on plastic cotton buds sticks, microbeads, and loose Expanded Polystyrene Packaging (EPS) from 1 September 2023
- A ban on all disposable plastic bags in September 2023, including heavyweight bags.
- Mass release of lighter-than-air balloons will be banned next year
- The phase-out of disposable coffee cups/lids
In 2009, South Australia became the first state in Australia to ban single-use plastic bags.
In March 2021, the state government banned single-use plastic items like plastic straws, stirrers and cutlery, and from March 2022, polystyrene items like cups, bowls, plates, ‘clamshell’ containers and all oxo-degradable products have been prohibited from production manufacture, supply and sale in the state.
The next stage proposed by the South Australian government is to ban cotton buds and fruit and vegetable bags by 2023. Following this, plastic plates and bowls, heavyweight plastic bags, cups and lids, coffee cups containing plastic, and plastic takeaway containers will be banned by 2024.
Australian Capital Territory
The ACT was the second Australian jurisdiction to enact laws to ban certain single-use plastics with the Plastic Reduction Act 2021 coming into effect 1 July 2021 banning the sale, supply or distribution of the following single-use items:
- Plastic cutlery
- Plastic beverage stirrers
- Expanded polystyrene takeaway food and beverage containers
Following this, the ACT Goverment has comitted to phase out the following items from 1 July, 2022 as part of Stage 2 of the bans:
- Single-use plastic straws (with exemptions for those who need them)
- Cotton buds with plastic sticks
- All oxo-degradable plastic products such as degradable plastic bags and degradable dog waste bags. They do not decompose at all ; they just break up into smaller pieces quickly and become more harmful
According to the Plastic Reduction Act 2021, the original plan was to ban single-use plastic fruit and vegetable “barrier bags”as well. Unfortunately, this has been delayed (without any further information available).
A third stage of bans will be considered from 1 July, 2023. These items include:
- expanded polystyrene products and packaging (with potential exemptions for white and brown goods)
- plastic takeaway containers.
All the proposed bans will also go through the required 12-week public notice period.
For more information, visit Next Steps Policy 2021
Western Australia’s ban on single-use plastics commenced on 1 January, 2022 with enforcement delayed until 1 July, 2022. The ban includes plastic cutlery, stirrers, straws, plates, bowls, thick plastic bags, polystyrene food containers, and helium balloon releases. Disposable plastic cups for cold beverages will be banned from 1 October, 2022.
In stage two, 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 by 2023.
New South Wales
New South Wales commenced their ban on lightweight plastic bags on 1 June, 2022.
NSW have submitted a ban on the following items to commence on 1 November 2022:
- plastic straws, stirrers and swizzle sticks
- plastic cutlery, including forks, spoons, knives, sporks, splades, chopsticks, and food picks
- plastic plates plates
- expanded polystyrene (EPS) food service items such as clamshells, cups, plates and bowls.
Bans will also come into effect for single-use plastic cotton buds and rinse-off personal care products containing plastic microbeads, such as face and body cleansers, exfoliants and masks, shampoo, conditioner and hair dyes, and toothpaste.
Victoria has announced it will ban the following by February 2023:
- Single-use straws
- Cutlery and plates
- Beverage stirrers
- Expanded polystyrene food and drink containers
- Cotton bud sticks
The Northern Territory goverment has announced great news this year, and has committed for a single-use plastic ban by 2025 that proposes to ban:
- plastic bags
-plastic straws and stirrers
- plastic cutlery
- plastic bowls and plates
- expanded polystyrene (EPS)
- consumer food containers
- microbeadsin personal health car
- EPS consumer goods packaging (loose fill and moulded)
- helium balloons.
The next step for the state is to commit to ban the heavyweight plastic bags, subject to a consultation process.
Tasmania has not as yet made any commitments to banning single-use plastics.