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NSW Will Finally Introduce a State-Wide Single-Use Plastic Bag Ban

It's the last state or territory in Australia to commit to a ban.
By Samantha Teague
March 09, 2020
By Samantha Teague
March 09, 2020

Back in 2009, South Australia introduced a state-wide ban on single-use plastic bags. Since then, every single state and territory has introduced its own ban — with Victoria the latest in November 2019 — except for NSW. But, thankfully, we're finally about to join the party, with the NSW Government rolling out its new Plastics Plan and 20-Year Waste Strategy.

While the discussion papers are open for community feedback until Friday, May 8, and legislation then needs to be drafted and introduced to parliament, if passed, the plans could see single-use plastic bags phased out by the end of the year. Environment Minister Matt Kean said in a statement that "lightweight plastic bags are proposed to be phased out six months from the passage of legislation".

Other single-use items that could also be ditched as part of the Plastics Plan, include plastic straws, plates, bowls, cutlery, cups and stirrers; polystyrene food and beverage containers; and heavier/boutique plastic bags. Proposed legislation would also see the portion of plastics recycled in NSW by 2030 tripled and plastic litter reduced by a quarter.

According to the report, Australians consume 3.4 million tonnes of plastic every year — part of 322 million tonnes consumed globally — and eight million tonnes of it is leaked into our oceans every year. NSW currently only recycles ten percent of its plastic waste.

Despite previously being opposed to a statewide ban, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said in a statement that the new waste strategy plans would help to ensure "that NSW is a leader when it comes to reducing waste, maximising recycling and protecting our environment". The announcement also neatly follows Victoria's own $129 million plan to overhaul its waste and recycling system, unveiled by Premier Daniel Andrews late last month.

Considering supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths began enforcing their own nationwide plastic bag bans over a year ago — and local shopping spot Harris Farm scrapped plastic over two years ago — you've probably already got a solid collection of reusable bags ready to go. If not, we suggest you invest, tout de suite.

You can have your say on the NSW Government's Plastic Plan and 20 Year Waste Strategy over here until Friday, May 8.

Published on March 09, 2020 by Samantha Teague
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