There will be exemptions to the ban for anyone who may require access to single-use plastic items - such as plastic straws due to permanent or temporary disability or other healthcare needs
The Australian state of Queensland has announced its to introduce a ban on problematic plastics.
Products that are part of the ban include single-use straws, polystyrene foam food containers and cups, as well as single-use plastic stirrers, cutlery and plates.
These bans will be introduced from September 2021 under new legislation passed by the Queensland parliament.
Environment minister Meaghan Scanlon said there was overwhelming community support for banning these types of products that were too often discarded thoughtlessly.
She explained: “Plastic pollution is spoiling our streets and parks, escaping into our ocean and waterways and killing our iconic wildlife.
“Half of all plastic produced is designed to be used only once and then thrown away and that litter is destroying our environment.
“The Palaszczuk Government takes its responsibility to protecting our world-renowned natural features such as the Great Barrier Reef very seriously and the Waste Reduction and Recycling (Plastic Items) Amendment Act 2020 is the next step in our war on waste.
“We’ve already seen the enormous benefits of the single-use plastic shopping bag ban, with litter surveys showing a 70% reduction in not just lightweight plastic shopping bag litter, but all plastic bag litter since the ban began on 1 July 2018.
“Now, we intend to continue removing these types of products from the environment, with this legislation focusing on single-use straws, stirrers, cutlery, and plates.
“During our community consultation stage, from March last year, some 94% of the 20,000 respondents supported our proposal to ban these items.
“In addition, our latest online survey, which concluded on 15 January, also supported the inclusion in the ban of expanded polystyrene products such as takeaway food containers and cups – with an overwhelming 98% of 6800 respondents in favour of removing them from our environment.”
Exemptions for problematic plastics use for certain individuals in Queensland
There will be exemptions to the ban for anyone who may require access to single-use plastic items – such as plastic straws due to permanent or temporary disability or other healthcare needs.
The government in Queensland has already taken strong action to ban lightweight single-use plastic shopping bags.
It also introduced the Container Refund Scheme that has seen nearly three billion containers returned for refunds and more than 700 jobs created across Queensland since 2018.
The Australian Organics Recycling Association’s national executive officer Peter Olah said: “plastics contamination was the biggest barrier to achieving an even greater environmental and economic contribution through organics recycling.
“Each state must implement a ban on single-use plastics which are not compostable.”