New South Wales will introduce the first of its single-use plastic bans next week, while the ACT Government prepares to broaden the bans it introduced last year.
New South Wales remains the last state or territory yet to crack down on single-use plastics in any form, but that is set to change as its ban on lightweight single-use bags comes into effect from 1 June 2022.
James Griffin, Minister for the Environment, said the ban on bags would be followed up by a suite of additional plastic bans in November.
“I think all of us can see the impact plastic pollution is having on our environment, which is why we’re making major changes in NSW this year,” he said.
The ACT is moving on to the next stage of its plastic bans from 1 July, which will encompass single-use plastic straws, cotton buds with plastic sticks and oxo-degradable plastics – products such as dog waste bags that break down into microplastic fragments without completely decomposing.
The bans build on the Plastic Reduction Act 2021 introduced in July last year, which banned plastic cutlery, beverage stirrers, polystyrene food and beverage containers, and single-use plastic shopping bags.
“We would like to thank businesses and organisations who have already made this switch for embracing alternative products and helping make Canberra a more sustainable city,” said Chris Steel, Minister for Transport and City Services.
The ACT has stopped short of further plastic bag crackdowns, despite proposing a ban on plastic fruit and vegetable bags last year.
The NSW Government has partnered with the National Retail Association (NRA) to provide further support for retailers with the transition away from banned plastics.
Eleni Petinos, Minister for Small Business, said the government was working with all stakeholders to ensure business owners understood the laws and how to comply with them.
“Through the NRA, we’re running a retailer education campaign, conducting store visits, and providing online webinars and resources to help businesses make the adjustment away from single-use plastics,” she said.
The NRA has made a free hotline available (1800 844 946) for businesses and consumers seeking support or advice on plastic bans across the country.
Single-use plastic bans remain fragmented across Australian states and territories. Western Australia leads the way on the range of products covered and is the only state to have banned heavyweight plastic bags and plastic cups and lids. Tasmania banned single-use shopping bags in 2013 but has since made no further commitments.