The exposure draft of the Plastic Reduction Bill 2020 has been tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly as the territory government formally begins implementing the phase out of certain single-use plastic.
The phase out will begin from July 2021, banning the sale and supply of single-use plastic cutlery, stirrers and polystyrene food and beverage containers such as plates, cups, bowls and ‘clamshell’ takeaway containers.
Minister for Recycling and Waste Reduction Chris Steel said the government recognises that immediately phasing out single-use plastics could present difficulties to businesses who have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This transition period recognises that affected sectors like the events and hospitality industries are currently in hibernation during the pandemic or are just trying to survive, and that they may need to use up any existing stock that they have.
“The release of the exposure Bill is a clear signal that the transition to better alternatives begins now, and we will continue to work with stakeholders on the ACT Plastic Reduction Taskforce as we implement the phase out, with the final Bill introduced before the end of the year.”
Minister Steel said the Bill would also see the ACT become the first jurisdiction to declare public events single-use plastic free, with a focus on designated large-scale events, and in close consultation with the event holder.
Plastic‑free events could include Floriade and the National Multicultural Festival, as well as privately run major sporting matches and festivals.
In 2022 the ACT will seek to expand the phase out to include items such as plastic fruit and vegetable barrier bags and oxo-degradable plastic products which are conventional plastics that include additives to accelerate the fragmentation of the material.
“Plastic straws will also be phased-out in 2022, however we will continue to work with key stakeholders in the health and disability communities to implement the ban and ensure they remain available to those who need them.
“This is just the start. Producers and suppliers of single-use plastic products, that are not designed to be economically recycled here in the ACT, are on notice. This Bill sets out a framework to phase out other problematic and unnecessary plastic products in the future with appropriate consultation.”
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