Australia

Single-use plastics banned in South Australia: Qld could be next

South Australia has become the first state in the country to ban single-use plastics, with parliament passing the legislation yesterday. The new ban won’t come into effect until 2021, though, due to delays caused by the pandemic.The state has beaten Queensland to the punch, which has been debating new laws, with new legislation on the…

South Australia has become the first state in the country to ban single-use plastics, with parliament passing the legislation yesterday.

The new ban won’t come into effect until 2021, though, due to delays caused by the pandemic.

The state has beaten Queensland to the punch, which has been debating new laws, with new legislation on the agenda for its state parliament this month.

The new rules in South Australia puts a stop to the sale, supply and distribution of plastic straws, cutlery and drink stirrers – and may include other plastic items such as coffee cups and fruit and vegetable carrier bags later on.

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South Australian Environment and Water Minister David Speirs said there has been strong feedback from South Australians keen to see action on single-use plastics.

“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.

“With COVID-19 restrictions still impacting on society and in particular the hospitality industry, we will delay the commencement of the legislation,” he said.

“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.”

He described the approach as a balance to benefit the environment while minimising the impact for businesses and accommodating the needs of people living with a disability who might find themselves reliant on certain single-use plastics.

Banning plastic items will take a staged approach, with the aim to remove them altogether.

Mr Speirs described the state as “a leader in waste management” as it was the first state or territory to ban plastic bags in 2009.

“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,” he said.

The proposal for Queensland to change its laws comes after the State Government asked Queenslanders what to do about single-use plastics in an inquiry, and received almost 20,000 submissions since November 2019 begging for a ban.

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