The Queensland Government has introduced legislation to ban single-use plastic items, starting with straws, stirrers, cutlery and plates.
Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said the government was committed to reducing the destructive impact of plastic waste on waterways, marine life and the environment.
“First our government banned single-use plastic bags, then we introduced the highly successful Containers for Change program, and now we have taken the next step in our war on plastic waste by introducing this Bill,” she said.
In March, the state government asked Queenslanders to decide on the future of single-use plastics, and according to Enoch, 94 per cent of the 20,000 respondents were in favour of a ban.
“That’s an overwhelming statement from communities wanting to find a positive solution to reducing plastic waste and protecting our environment,” she said.
Toby Hutcheon, Boomerang Alliance Queensland Manager, said they welcome the ban, which is the next step in reducing plastic litter.
“These items are amongst the most littered items in Queensland. According to Clean Up Australia, 36 per cent of all litter in Queensland is plastic packaging,” he said.
As well as banning the supply and sale of single-use plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery and plates, the Bill will also provide a means for more single-use plastic like coffee cups, polystyrene cups, take-away food containers and heavy weight plastic bags to be banned in the future, following public consultation.
“We know Queensland businesses, just like other businesses around the world, are being impacted by the global coronavirus pandemic,” Enoch said.
“Because we’ve had a strong health response, we’ve already started delivering Queensland’s plan for economic recovery.”
She added that supporting Queensland businesses and jobs is critical to the state government’s recovery plan.
“That’s why the Bill allows for flexibility, with the start date for the ban to be no earlier than 1 July 2021, allowing businesses and the hospitality industry adequate time to source new products,” Enoch said.