The Queensland government has introduced legislation to ban single-use plastic items across the state, starting with straws, stirrers, cutlery and plates.
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch said the government was committed to reducing the destructive impact of plastic waste on waterways, marine life and environment.
“First our government banned single-use plastic bags, then we introduced the highly successful Containers for Change program, and now we have taken the next step in our war on plastic waste by introducing this Bill,” Enoch said.
“In March this year, we asked Queenslanders to decide the future of single-use plastic items and we received a resounding response that was very clear.
“Almost 20,000 responses were received, with 94 per cent of submissions in favour of a ban.
As well as banning the supply and sale of single-use plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery and plates, the Bill will also provide a means for more single-use plastic like coffee cups, polystyrene cups, take-away food containers and heavy weight plastic bags to be banned in the future, following public consultation.
Enoch said the bans would start no earlier than July 1, 2021, to allow businesses and the hospitality industry to adjust and find replacement products.
Items such as single-use plastic straws that are part of juice box packaging will not be part of the ban at this time, enabling the government to work with packaging and product manufacturers to develop more sustainable options.
Toby Hutcheon, Queensland Manager, Boomerang Alliance said they welcome the ban, which is the next step in reducing plastic litter.
“These items are amongst the most littered items in Queensland. According to Clean Up Australia 36 per cent of all litter in Queensland is plastic packaging,” Hutcheon said.
Queensland Disability Advisory Council Chair Sharon Boyce said that overall the sector is supportive of the proposed ban since exemptions are provided for people with disability who rely on single-use plastics as part of their daily life routines.
“Discussions with the disability sector regarding implementation of the ban will continue so we can find the best solution,” Boyce said.
A ban on single-use plastics is part of Queensland’s approach to the war on waste, as outlined in the Tackling Plastic Waste: Queensland’s Plastic Pollution Reduction Plan.
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