Plastic Bans from 1st September – What you need to know

Queensland now has new laws to ban single-use straws.

Polystyrene foam food containers and cups as well as single-use plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery and plates will all be banned from September 1, 2021 under new legislation passed by Queensland Parliament.

Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said there was overwhelming community support for banning these types of products which were too often discarded thoughtlessly.

With half of all plastic produced designed to be used only once and then thrown away, that litter is destroying our environment.

The Waste Reduction and Recycling (Plastic Items) Amendment Act 2020 is the next step in the war on waste to assist in protecting world-renowned natural features such as the Great Barrier Reef with .

The single-use plastic shopping bag ban has had major benefits, with litter surveys showing a 70 per cent reduction in not just lightweight plastic shopping bag litter, but all plastic bag litter since the ban began on 1 July 2018.

The Queensland Government now intends to continue removing these types of products from the environment, with this legislation focusing on single-use straws, stirrers, cutlery, and plates.

During the community consultation stage, from March last year, some 94 per cent of the 20,000 respondents supported the proposal to ban these items.

In addition, the latest online survey, which concluded on 15 January, also supported the inclusion in the ban of expanded polystyrene products such as takeaway food containers and cups – with an overwhelming 98 per cent of 6800 respondents in favour of removing them from our environment.

There will be exemptions to the ban for anyone who may require access to a single-use plastic item, such as a plastic straw, due to permanent or temporary disability or other healthcare needs.

The Queensland Government has already taken action to first ban lightweight single-use plastic shopping bags and to then introduce the Container Refund Scheme which has seen nearly 3 billion containers returned for refunds and more than 700 jobs created across Queensland since 2018.

This legislation also makes provision for more single-use items to be banned through regulation in the future.

Peter Olah, National Executive Officer of the Australian Organics Recycling Association, said plastics contamination was the biggest barrier to achieving an even greater environmental and economic contribution through organics recycling.

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