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Australian single-use plastics bans

Australian single-use plastics bans

Last updated: 1st March 2022

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 leak 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 on 1st September 2011. These bags are banned in all Australian states and territories as of 1st June 2022.


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

Drink Stirrers
Coffee Cups
Drink Cups
Clamshells
Wooden Cutlery
Palm leaf Plates
Paper Straws
Food Trays


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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 commenced 1st March 2022 to include use, supply and manufacture of:

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


Single-use plastic bags ("checkout" style plastic bags) are banned in all Australian states and territories as of 1st June 2022.

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
Clamshells
Pulp Bowls
Snack Boxes
Drink Stirrers


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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

Single-use plastic bags ("checkout" style plastic bags) are banned in all Australian states and territories as of 1st June 2022

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

Sandwich Wedges
Wooden Cutlery
Palm leaf Plates
Drink Cups
Noodle Boxes
Coffee Cups
Paper Straws
Cling Wrap

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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. Single-use plastic bags ("checkout" style plastic bags) are banned in all Australian states and territories as of 1st June 2022.

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

Coffee Cups
Paper Straws
Drink Stirrers
Cling Wrap
Wooden Cutlery
Pulp Bowls
Clamshells
Sandwich Wedges
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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)

Single-use plastic bags ("checkout" style plastic bags) are banned in all Australian states and territories as of 1st June 2022

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
Drink Stirrers
Coffee Cups
Palm leaf Plates
Pulp Bowls
Snack Boxes
Takeaway Containers
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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. 

Single-use plastic bags ("checkout" style plastic bags) are banned in all Australian states and territories as of 1st June 2022.

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

Wooden Cutlery
Drink Stirrers
Palm leaf Plates
Pulp Bowls
Paper Straws
Drink Cups
Coffee Cups
Snack boxes

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WESTERN AUSTRALIA

From 1st January 2022, Western Australia commences bans for select single-use products under the Environmental Protection Regulations Amendment (Prohibited Plastics and Balloons) 2021.
Retailers cannot purchase products outlined below from the 1st of January however they have a 6-month grace period to diminish existing stock and penalties will be enforced from 1st July 2022 with the exception of cups as outlined below. The single-use plastic ban applies to:

Single-use plastic plates, bowls and cups (Single-use plastic bags are banned in all Australian states and territories as of 1st June 2022).
Cutlery (unless incorporated i.e. a spoon inside prepacked yoghurt)
Plastic straws
Plastic stirrers
Expanded polystyrene (EPS) food containers
Thick plastic bags
Helium balloon releases


From 1st October 2022, the following will be banned:

Plastic cups


Stage two planned to be introduced 1st January 2023 will include:

Barrier or produce bags
Cotton buds with plastic shafts
Polystyrene packaging
Polystyrene cups, coffee cups and lids
Microbeads and Oxo-biodegradable plastics

EXEMPTIONS: The Government of Western Australia is in consultation with disability, health and aged-care sectors to better understand their needs regarding exemptions. 

VISIT THE WEBSITE: Western Australia's Plan for Plastics
DOWNLOAD: WA's Single-use plastic ban: FAQs
READ THE MEDIA RELEASE: Western Australia's plan to ban single-use plastics fast-tracked. (Hon Mark McGowan BA LLB MLA, 13 June 2021)


Recommended alternatives

Cling Wrap
Pulp Bowl
Takeaway Containers
Noodle Boxes
Coffee Cups
Drink Cups
Paper Straws
Wooden Cutlery
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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

Single-use plastic bags ("checkout" style plastic bags) are banned in all Australian states and territories as of 1st June 2022.

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

Sandwich Wedges
Drink Stirrers
Coffee Cups
Food Trays
Wooden Cutlery
Paper Straws
Cling Wrap
Food Tubs



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