NSW became the last state or territory in Australia to ban single use plastics bags yesterday, with retailers facing up to $275,000 for providing them to customers. Other measures will be introduced to reduce plastic waste in Australia in the coming months.
NSW minister for Environment, James Griffin, said the lightweight plastic bag ban is the first of many plastic items being banned in NSW this year.
“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,” Griffin said.
In addition to the 1 June lightweight plastic bag ban, from November the NSW government will ban:
- single-use plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates, bowls and cotton buds;
- expanded polystyrene food ware and cups; and
- rinse-off personal care products containing plastic microbeads.
An estimated 2.7 billion items of plastic waste will be saved from landfill over 20 years, and is part of a state push to reduce plastic litter by 30 per cent by 2025.
So-called “compostable” and “bioplastic” alternatives to the above items will also be banned. These items don’t biodegrade unless they’re treated in an industrial composting facility, creating just as much of a problem as conventional plastic.
To ensure small businesses are ready for the changes this year, the NSW government engaged the National Retail Association (NRA) to deliver a comprehensive retailer education campaign.
Minister for Small Business, Eleni Petinos, said the NSW government is supporting more than 40,000 businesses across NSW to phase-out single-use plastics.
“The NSW government has worked with stakeholders to support small businesses to understand how they will be affected, how to comply with new laws and what alternatives they can use to single-use plastics,” Petinos said.
“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.”
The NRA has launched a free hotline to offer businesses, community organisations and consumers advice on the single-use plastic bans, on 1800 844 946.
For more information about the NSW plastics ban, visit the NSW government website.