South Australia has become the first state in the country to ban single-use plastics, with the controversial bill passing parliament on Wednesday.
The Marshall Liberal Government’s single-use and other plastic products bill bans the sale, supply and distribution of single-use plastic products such as straws, cutlery and beverage stirrers in South Australia.
Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs described it as an “historic” day in South Australia.
“There has been significant community and industry support for swift action on single-use plastic products with many households and businesses across the state already taking steps to remove them,” he said.
“Our legislation at first bans single-use plastic items like straws, cutlery and beverage stirrers and outlines a framework for adding more items in the future.
“However, with COVID-19 restrictions still impacting on society and in particular the hospitality industry, we will delay the commencement of the legislation.
“This will give businesses time to bounce back and properly prepare before the ban comes into effect in early 2021.
“This approach strikes an appropriate balance between the public’s desire for change and the needs of businesses.”
Mr Speirs said the bill was developed with the help of a single-use plastics taskforce, which included input from 15 different organisations, including people living with a disability.
“Through this taskforce we’ve developed an approach that balances the benefit to the environment with minimising impact for businesses and accommodating the needs of people living with a disability who might find themselves reliant on certain single-use plastics,” he said.
“South Australia has always led the nation and the world when it comes to making important decisions to protect our environment.
“We were the first state in Australia to introduce deposits on containers, the first state in Australia to ban lightweight plastic bags and we’re now the first state to pass legislation banning single-use plastics.
“The Marshall Liberal Government is committed to working with the community and stakeholders in South Australia to ensure that we continue to maintain this state’s reputation as a leader in waste management.”
Due to ongoing impacts the pandemic, the writing of the bill’s legislation won’t start until early 2021.