More than 120 million straws off the shelves

straws, single use plastic

More than 120 million plastic straws have been taken off the shelves in the first six months of South Australia’s historic single-use plastic ban, as businesses are urged to prepare for the next round of items to be banned.

On March 1, 2021 South Australia was the first state in Australia to ban plastic drinking straws, stirrers and cutlery from sale, supply or distribution.

About 700,000 plastic straws were used in South Australia every day before the ban kicked in.

David Speirs, Minister for Environment and Water, said March 1, 2021 will forever be a proud day for the state.

“South Australia has always led the nation when it comes to environmental issues and the Marshall Liberal Government’s historic ban on single-use plastics is no different,” Speirs said.

“In the first six months of the ban it is estimated that more than 120 million plastic straws have been removed from distribution. Amazingly, if you were to put these end-to-end, they would comfortably cover the distance from Adelaide to London.

“I am proud to be part of a government which is protecting our environment for future generations, reducing litter, and promoting a shift away from a single-use, throwaway mindset.

“Our legislation isn’t just stopping at straws, cutlery and stirrers with expanded polystyrene cups, bowls, plates and clam-shell containers, and oxo-degradable plastic products to be banned come March 1, 2022.

“We will continue to consider more products such as takeaway coffee cups and other takeaway food service items as market demand increases and other sustainable alternatives become available.

“Our plastic ban isn’t just good for the environment – by being a first mover nationally we’ve already seen businesses who manufacture re-useable and compostable alternatives start to set up in South Australia, which means we will have significant economic benefits and create local jobs as well.”

The state’s legislation was developed with the help of a Single-Use Plastics Taskforce with representation from 15 different organisations, including people living with a disability.

The legislation does not prevent members of the community from bringing their own straws to cafes, and any business can choose to supply individual single-use plastic drinking straws on request, due to disability or medical needs.

Prescribed businesses including pharmacies, local government offices, charities, and medical, dental and care facilities can sell and supply packs of straws for these purposes.

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