Queensland Could Soon Introduce a State-Wide Ban on Single-Use Plastics

Plastic straws, cutlery, plates and stirrers would all be banned under the Qld Government's proposed plan.
Sarah Ward
Published on November 07, 2019

A year after Queensland finally introduced a container refund scheme, and 16 months after scrapping disposable plastic bags, the Sunshine State is set to ramp up its war on waste once again. As part of the just-released Plastic Pollution Reduction Plan, the government is proposing a ban on single-use plastics — and while it's just an idea at this stage, legislation could be introduced as early as next year.

In the crosshairs are plastic straws, cutlery, plates and stirrers, with the Qld Government also committing to investigate banning coffee cups, plastic cups and heavy-weight plastic shopping bags as well. Crucial to the plan 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.

Before anything official is put in place, the state will undertake consultation with the community and various stakeholders, including people with disability. For the latter group, some alternative products to plastic — such as bamboo, paper and metal straws — aren't always a viable option.

From 2020, the Qld Government will start by 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, IKEACoca-Cola Amatil and Qantas among those making steps in the plastic-free direction.

You can read more about the Queensland Government's Plastic Reduction Plan over here.

Published on November 07, 2019 by Sarah Ward
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