The Queensland Government Is Asking for Your Thoughts on Its Proposed Single-Use Plastics Ban
A start date of July 1, 2021 has been proposed.
UPDATE, APRIL 19, 2020: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Queensland government has extended the public consultation period for the proposed single-use plastics ban — from Wednesday, April 15 to Thursday, April 30. The below article has been updated to reflect this change.
Over the past few years, Queensland has introduced a container refund scheme and scrapped disposable plastic bags, and the Sunshine State ramping up its war on waste once again. In 2019, it released its Plastic Pollution Reduction Plan, with the government proposing a ban on single-use plastics — and now it's asking for community feedback in advance of potentially introducing legislation this year, then kicking off the ban in mid-2021.
In the immediate crosshairs are plastic straws, cutlery, plates and stirrers, which could be banned from July 1, 2021 if plans proceed as currently outlined. Crucial to the proposed idea is the existence of already-available alternatives — whether they're reusable, in the case of cutlery and plates, or 100-percent compostable, as seen with paper straws and stirrers. For people with disability, some alternative products to plastic — such as bamboo, paper and metal straws — aren't always a viable option.
It's worth noting that straws or cutlery that form part of another product — so if they're attached to poppers or included with tuna — won't be subject to the regime.
In a second phase, which doesn't yet have a timeline, the Qld Government also committing to investigate banning coffee cups, plastic cups, heavy-weight plastic shopping bags and polystyrene containers as well.
If you're eager to provide your thoughts about the plan to ban single-use plastics, you can do so online by Thursday, April 30.
From this year, the Qld Government will also start banning the products from their own events; however an exact timeline from there hasn't been revealed. Also on the state's agenda: developing facilities to process and repurpose plastic, mandating the use of recycled plastics, and expanding the Plastic Free Places program, which works with retailers, events and markets at the community level to wipe out single-use water bottles, straws, coffee cups and lids, takeaway containers, food ware (such as cutlery, plates and cups) and bags. In Noosa, more than 200 businesses have signed up to the scheme.
While Qld's powers-that-be are calling their proposal an Australian first, they're not the only authority figures looking to tackle the growing waste problem. Similar laws are being drafted in South Australia, Hobart is progressing down the same track and, as a nation, Australia is working towards banning all non-recyclable packaging by 2025. That's on top of plenty of smaller-scale initiatives, not only including bag bans and container schemes, but the phasing out of single-use plastics in various guises at the company level, with McDonald's, IKEA, Coca-Cola Amatil and Qantas among those making steps in the plastic-free direction.
Published on March 14, 2020 by Sarah Ward