Queenslanders are preparing to say goodbye to plastic bags and hello to a heap of change as the Queensland Government last night passed a bill to clear everyone's cupboards of both single-use plastic carriers and plastic containers — via a ban on the former and a refund-fuelled recycling scheme for the latter.
Come July 1, 2018, all stores in Queensland will be ditching lightweight single-use plastic bags, including degradable and biodegradable options. The move brings the state into line with South Australia, the ACT, the Northern Territory and Tasmania, and follows the news that Woolworths and Coles will also be doing the same nationwide. And while it might seem like a long time coming...well, better late than never.
Introducing a container refund scheme might also seem as though Queensland is playing catch-up, with SA and the NT already operating similar systems, and New South Wales bringing their own in from December this year. Hobart is aiming to completely ban the things by 2020. Applicable containers — which include cans and bottles of sizes between 150ml and three litres, though not any that hold plain milk, wine and pure juice — will each attract a ten-cent refund. Which can only be good for your overflowing recycling bin and piggy bank.
To facilitate the scheme, designated collection points will be set up across the state, with reverse vending machines also likely to be part of the rollout. The receptacles will collect your containers and spit out refunds, (rather than vice versa) and will probably put an end to every conversation you've ever had about filling up your car with cans, driving to SA and filling your wallet. Let's hope Victoria and NSW follow suit.