Western Australia Just Became the First State to Ban Single-Use Non-Compostable Coffee Cups

Lids must be entirely plastic-free, too, in a move that aims to save more than 154-million cups from landfill each year.
Sarah Ward
March 04, 2024

In the latest effort to do the environment a solid by reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfill, Western Australia has banned takeaway coffee cups that are lined with plastic and therefore can't be composted. Getting your caffeine fix to go in the state now means either sipping out of paperboard or bringing your own reusable cup, with WA leading the nation in scrapping the single-use item.

Rules on plastics such as shopping bags, drink containers and straws vary state to state across Australia, with WA the first to completely ditch plastic-lined takeaway coffee cups. All plastic lids are also now banned, with scrapping both coming into effect on Friday, March 1, 2024.

The move in Western Australia isn't sudden. It's part of the phase two of the state's Plan for Plastic, and comes into effect after a 12-month transition period, plus widespread consultation. The aim is to save 154-million-plus cups from landfill each year. And the fines for non-compliance are hefty, at up to $5000 for individuals and $25,000 for businesses.

Anyone that supplies takeaway cups for hot beverages — be it coffee, tea, hot chocolate or anything else — is covered by the ban. Plastic trays for takeaway foods have also been phased out in the state at the same time, while lids for takeaway food containers, bowls, plates and trays will be ditched from Sunday, September 1, 2024, as will non-compostable plastic produce bags.

Finding alternatives to disposable cups, and ways to recycle them, has been a focus across the country for years — as has encouraging folks to bring their own reusable cup. Cafes have trialled 'more recyclable' versions, given out free coffee if you have your own cup and reduced prices. Complete bans at the cafe level have popped up, too, as have reusable coffee cup sharing networks.

WA's statewide ban on non-compostable takeaway coffee cups hasn't been implemented before Down Under, however, and here's hoping that other states take note. South Australia is set to do the same from September, while Queensland has announced previously that it's working to identify alternative cups and intends to ban plastic-lined versions, with no date set.

The ban on non-compostable takeaway coffee cups and plastic lids in Western Australia came into effect on Friday, March 1, 2024. For more information, head to the WA state government's website.

Published on March 04, 2024 by Sarah Ward
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