Features, Queensland

Queensland edges closer to plastics ban

Queensland has advanced its place towards the top of WWF-Australia’s plastics scorecard with the release of a new plan to ban harmful single-use plastics, including disposable coffee cups and lids, cotton buds with plastic stems, and polystyrene packing peanuts.

Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon announced the five-year roadmap today, which will also include a ban on the mass release of balloons and a mandate that heavyweight plastic bags meet a reusability standard.

“It’s great to see the Sunshine State balancing high ambition with a thoughtful approach to transition away from unnecessary and problematic single-use plastics,” said Kate Noble, WWF-Australia’s No Plastics in Nature Policy Manager. “This plan will stop some of the most damaging single-use plastics from entering Queensland’s beaches and waterways. It will also create a real opportunity for Queensland to not just transition away from single-use plastics, but move towards a more sustainable approach where re-use is normal and our use of disposables is massively reduced.”

Today’s announcement sees Queensland edge ahead of South Australia to claim outright second place on WWF-Australia’s plastics scorecard, which rates the performance of states and territories in tackling single-use plastics. The 2022 scorecard, released today for the start of Plastic Free July, has Western Australia maintaining its top spot thanks to its ban on single-use plastic bowls, plates, cutlery, straws and polystyrene food containers last year.

South Australia is in third place with further commitments expected this year, while the ACT, NSW and Victoria are tied for fourth. Tasmania and the Northern Territory continue to lag behind in fifth and sixth place respectively.

Noble said she was thrilled to see such great progress across the country.

“Our first scorecard in 2019 rated just one leader (South Australia) and five states and territories lagging behind. We now have six governments taking real action on plastics and plans to phase out at least some unnecessary plastics in every jurisdiction,” she said. “This will make a real difference to wildlife and ecosystems that are under serious threat from plastic pollution. Phasing out these products is really important to help Regenerate Australia and shows government leadership that we know people want. Now it’s up to all of us to step up and make sure we’re refusing single-use items and re-using as much as we possibly can – switching from single-use plastic to other single-use products isn’t the way forward.”