The sunshine state has given a swathe of single-use plastics the flick, with the latest ban taking effect today as part of efforts to stop waste from ending up in local waterways, beaches and landfill.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the ban would help reduce single-use plastic pollution by 20 per cent over the next two years.
The September 1 ban covers single-use plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates and unenclosed bowls, as well as single-use takeaway containers and cups made from expanded polystyrene.
The ban will stop these items being supplied in Queensland, including items provided free with purchased meals or sold in packets as party supplies.
“Half of all plastics are only designed to be used once. That has led to more than 75 per cent of the waste removed from our beaches being made of plastic,” the Palaszczuk said.
Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said that in partnership with the National Retail Association, the state government has engaged with more than 5000 businesses over the past three months, helping small to large retailers to prepare for the ban.
“There will be exemptions to ensure that Queenslanders with disability or healthcare needs can continue to access and use items necessary for them.”
National Retail Association CEO Dominique Lamb said retailers were very supportive of environmental initiatives and many had been transitioning to more sustainable and reusable items for some time.
“We’ve gone to over 310 centres and shopping strips throughout the state, providing resources and advice to cafes, restaurants, food outlets, discount stores, supermarkets, party suppliers, markets and many more.
“Even though many retailers have been doing it tough during the pandemic, the response has been overwhelmingly positive with retailers keen to do their bit for the environment.
“With the ban arriving soon, we encourage consumers to support these businesses by bringing reusable utensils when possible, or just being prepared that the options we provide are a little different now,” Lamb said.
Boomerang Alliance is currently hosting forums throughout Queensland, on behalf of the Queensland Government, to help prepare community groups and the community for the upcoming ban.
Toby Hutcheon, Queensland manager of Boomerang Alliance, said the forums answered questions on what items are included in the ban, what alternative products can be used, and how individual businesses and the community can adapt to the ban.
“The forums are held in the evenings and consist of a 30-minute presentation and a Q&A session, providing explanations on how to avoid and reduce single-use plastics in specific scenarios, such as at sausage sizzles and sports events.
“The forums will continue right through to October at many locations across the state.”
Comment below to have your say on this story.
If you have a news story or tip-off, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sign up to INCLEAN’s newsletter.