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Australian single-use plastics bans

Australian Single-Use Plastics Bans

[Live Update]

Last updated: 1st September 2021


Plastic cutlery, plates and straws are among a list of single-use plastics to be phased out by 2025 under a plan to reduce plastic waste in our region. Australia produces 2.5 million tonnes of plastic waste each year with 84% of it sent to landfill. It is reported that approximately 130,000 tonnes of plastic waste leaks into the environment annually which is a huge concern for not only the Australian Marine Conservation Society but our planet and future generations as well.

Global companies are the biggest producers of plastic waste. In 2019, Australia produced nearly 59kg of single-use plastic waste per person, considered the highest per person plastic wastage data reported globally. Usage is at such a worrying high, and in 2018 the Australian Government established the 2025 National Packaging Targets with a goal that by 2025: 100% of packaging will be reusable, recyclable or compostable; 70% of plastic packaging will be recyclable or compostable; And 50% of all packaging materials will be recyclable.

In response to these goals, each state and territory has committed to independent regulations we highlight below and we will continue to provide updates as new information is released.





View the current regulatory guidelines for

  1. Northern Territory
  2. South Australia
  3. Tasmania
  4. Australian Capital Territory
  5. Queensland
  6. Victoria
  7. Western Australia
  8. New South Wales



NORTHERN TERRITORY

Bans commenced 1st January 2019 for:

Plastic straws
Plastic cutlery
Plastic stirrers
Plastic plates and bowls
Takeaway containers
Smoothie cups
Coffee cups
Deliberate release of Helium Balloons

The single-use plastic bag ban ("checkout" style plastic bags including degradable bags) commenced 1st September 2011.


EXEMPTIONS: All of the Northern Territory, except for Council land in the city of Darwin (and council approved activities such as markets) are exempt from this ban. Aged care and disability sectors in Darwin are also exempt from the ban.


VISIT THE WEBSITE: Northern Territory Plastic Ban
MORE INFORMATION: From our friends at Detpak


Recommended alternatives

Paper Straws
Wooden Cutlery
Palm leaf Plates
Eco Hot Cups
Home compostable Clamshells
Home compostable Containers
Paper Bags
Lunchwrap Paper


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SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Ban commenced 1st March 2021 for:

Plastic cutlery
Plastic stirrers
Plastic straws
PLA equivalents of these products are also banned
   - polystyrene cups
   - polystyrene bowls
   - polystyrene plates
   - polystyrene clamshell containers


Further bans commencing in early 2022 will include:

Foam cups, bowls and plates
Foam clamshells
All oxo-biodegradable plastic


EXEMPTIONS: Aged care and disability sectors are exempt from the ban. Straws cannot be on display or freely accessible and only prescribed businesses can supply the single-use plastics listed above.


VIEW THE STATE ACT:
Single-use and Other Plastic Products (Waste Avoidance) Act 2020 (SA).


Recommended alternatives

Paper Straws
Wooden Cutlery
Palm leaf Plates
Eco Hot Cups
Home compostable Clamshells
Home compostable Containers
Paper Bags
Lunchwrap Paper


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TASMANIA

The by-law commenced 1st July 2021 in Hobart only for:

Plastic straws
Plastic cutlery
Plastic plates and bowls
Plastic takeaway food container lids
Plastic stirrers
PE lined cups, noodle boxes, and food containers
Plastic lined cups except for compostable products
Foam takeaway food and beverage containers
Plastic sandwich wedges
Sauce sachets

Existing stock cannot be used until exhausted. As of July 1st, no single-use products listed above can be distributed even if it is existing stock. 

EXEMPTIONS: All of Tasmania, except for Hobart, are exempt from the by-law. Aged care and disability sectors in Hobart are also exempt from the by-law.


VISIT THE WEBSITE:
City of Hobart’s Single-use plastics by-law information
DOWNLOAD THE INFORMATION SHEET: Single-use plastic by-law


Recommended alternatives

Paper Straws
Wooden Cutlery
Palm leaf Plates
Eco Hot Cups
Home compostable Clamshells
Home compostable Containers
Paper Bags
Lunchwrap Paper



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Australian Capital Territory

The ACT Plastic Reduction Act 2021 commenced 1st July 2021 for:

Plastic stirrers including bioplastic stirrers
Plastic cutlery including bioplastic cutlery
Expanded polystyrene takeaway food and beverage containers

Plastic bags at or below 35 micrometres have been banned since 2011. This includes plastic bags marked as recyclable or reusable. Heavyweight shopping bags are being considered for future phase out. 

EXEMPTIONS: Aged care and disability sectors are exempt from the ban. Production of single-use plastic into packaging, domestic settings and items where there is no practical alternative like laksa type soup spoons and gelato tubs are exempted. Straws are currently exempt but are expected to be included in 2022. 

VISIT THE ACT WEBSITE: Single-use plastics
READ THE MEDIA RELEASE: Single-use plastic ban from 1 July 2021. (ACT Government, 02 Dec 2020)


Recommended alternatives

Paper Straws
Wooden Cutlery
Palm leaf Plates
Eco Hot Cups
Home compostable Clamshells
Home compostable Containers
Paper Bags
Lunchwrap Paper


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QUEENSLAND

The Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011 commenced 1st September 2021 for:

Plastic straws
Plastic stirrers
Foam takeaway containers
Foam cups (meaning cups made in whole or part of expanded polystyrene EPS)
Plastic cutlery including chopsticks, splayds and sporks
Plastic plates and bowls
Takeaway food containers (made in whole or part of expanded polystyrene EPS)

EXEMPTIONS: Aged care, disability sectors, and schools are exempt from the ban. As are straws attached to juice boxes, forks included in pre-packed salads, spoons attached to yoghurt containers, and plates forming part of a frozen meal. 

VIEW THE ACT: Waste Reduction and Recycling (Plastic Items) Amendment Act 2021 (Qld).


Recommended alternatives

Paper Straws
Wooden Cutlery
Palm leaf Plates
Eco Hot Cups
Home compostable Clamshells
Home compostable Containers
Paper Bags
Lunchwrap Paper


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VICTORIA

Bans commence February 1st, 2022 in Government Department buildings and on February 1st, 2023 it extends state-wide for:

Plastic straws
Plastic stirrers
Plastic cutlery
Plastic plates
Foam food and drink containers
Cotton bud sticks

By 2030 a 4-bin waste and recycling system will be standard for households across the state; And by 2022-23, a container deposit scheme will be implemented for the exchange of cans and bottles for cash. 

EXEMPTIONS: Aged care and disability sectors are exempt. The ban will not affect medical, scientific, or emergency management services.

VISIT THE WEBSITE: Victoria Government Transforming Recycling In Victoria.
DOWNLOAD: Recycling Victoria Policy document



Recommended alternatives

Paper Straws
Wooden Cutlery
Palm leaf Plates
Eco Hot Cups
Home compostable Clamshells
Home compostable Containers
Paper Bags
Lunchwrap Paper




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WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Bans will be rolled out between 2020-2023 voluntarily meaning they will be encouraged but not legislated. The WA state government is planning on implementing a voluntary ban on the following products by the end of 2021:

Single-use plastic bowls, plates, cups, and cutlery
Plastic straws
Plastic stirrers
Polystyrene food containers
Thick plastic bags
Helium balloons


Stage two planned to be completed by the end of 2022 will include:

Barrier or produce bags
Cotton buds with plastic shafts
Polystyrene packaging
Polystyrene cups
Microbeads and Oxo-biodegradable plastics
Prepacked fruit & vegetables, and takeaway food & beverage containers' plastic packaging

EXEMPTIONS: The Government of Western Australia is in consultation with disability, health and aged-care sectors to better understand their needs regarding exemptions. The WA Government has established a Plastic Straws Working Group to investigate needs and we will update these details once legislative details are confirmed.

VISIT THE WEBSITE: Western Australia's Plan for Plastics
DOWNLOAD: WA's Plan for Plastics
READ THE MEDIA RELEASE: Western Australia’s Plan for Plastics – a roadmap to reduce our reliance on single-use plastics. (Hon Stephen Dawson MLC, 8 Nov 2020)


Recommended alternatives

Paper Straws
Wooden Cutlery
Palm leaf Plates
Eco Hot Cups
Home compostable Clamshells
Home compostable Containers
Paper Bags
Lunchwrap Paper


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NEW SOUTH WALES

Bans will commence on 1st December 2021 for lightweight plastic shopping  bags.

Bans commence 1st June 2022 for:

Plastic straws
Plastic stirrers
Plastic cutlery
Polystyrene cups and serving ware
Cotton buds with plastic sticks
Microbeads in rinse-off personal care and cosmetic products

Bans for the following products will be reviewed for implementation in 2024:

Heavyweight plastic shopping bags
Barrier or produce bags
Plastic cups including lids
Non-compostable fruit stickers
Plastic plates and bowls including lids
Oxo-degradable plastics

EXEMPTIONS: Details pending

VIEW THE ACT OR MEDIA RELEASE:  Pending
VISIT THE WEBSITE:
NSW Plastics Plan Discussion Paper
DOWNLOAD: NSW Plastics Plan Paper "Cleaning Up Our Act: Redirecting the future of plastic"


Recommended alternatives

Paper Straws
Wooden Cutlery
Palm leaf Plates
Eco Hot Cups
Home compostable Clamshells
Home compostable Containers
Paper Bags
Lunchwrap Paper


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