Queensland has given a swathe of single-use plastics the flick, as its latest ban took effect on September 1. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the ban would help reduce single-use plastic pollution by 20 per cent over the next two years.
The September 1 ban covers single-use plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates and unenclosed bowls, as well as single-use takeaway containers and cups made from expanded polystyrene.
The ban will stop these items being supplied in Queensland, including items provided free with purchased meals or sold in packets as party supplies, said the Premier.
“Half of all plastics are only designed to be used once. That has led to more than 75 per cent of the waste removed from our beaches being made of plastic,” the Premier said. “Preventing this rubbish from ending up in our beaches and waterways will protect animals like turtles, which alone have a 20 per cent chance of dying if they ingest just one piece of plastic.
Environment Minister, Meaghan Scanlon, said banning single-use plastics added to the Palaszczuk Government’s record $1.4 billion investment to protect the environment, support business and create jobs as part of the state’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan.
“In partnership with the National Retail Association, we’ve already engaged with more than 5000 businesses over the past 3 months, helping small to large retailers to prepare for the ban,”she said. “There will be exemptions to ensure that Queenslanders with disability or healthcare needs can continue to access and use items necessary for them. With the economy and jobs now growing and recovering from the impacts of COVID-19 thanks to our economic recovery plan, so too is our environment with the ban of even more single-use plastics.”
National Retail Association CEO, Dominique Lamb, said retailers were very supportive of environmental initiatives and many had been transitioning to more sustainable and reusable items for some time.
“We’ve gone to over 310 centres and shopping strips throughout the state, providing resources and advice to cafes, restaurants, food outlets, discount stores, supermarkets, party suppliers, markets and many more.
“Even though many retailers have been doing it tough during the pandemic, the response has been overwhelmingly positive with retailers keen to do their bit for the environment.
“With the ban arriving soon, we encourage consumers to support these businesses by bringing reusable utensils when possible, or just being prepared that the options we provide are a little different now,” Ms Lamb said.
Information, resources and signage for businesses are available at www.qldplasticsban.com.au and businesses can call the NRA’s tollfree hotline 1800 844 946 for advice.