The New South Wales government is moving forward with a plan to “tackle the use of plastics”, reduce waste and pollution, and increase recycling across the state. The plan includes a ban on lightweight plastic bags. If enacted, NSW would be the last state in Australia to ban such plastics.
The state has issued a discussion paper, Cleaning Up Our Act: Redirecting the Future of Plastic in NSW, which canvasses options to reduce waste and increase recycling. It outlines the opportunities and strategic direction for future waste and recycling infrastructure, and for growing sustainable end-markets for recycled materials.
The discussion paper said NSW generates 800,000 tonnes of plastic waste each year and recycles 10 per cent of that. Also, only 30 per cent of plastic waste recycled in the state is remanufactured there, with the rest sent to other states or overseas for reprocessing.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Environment Minister Matt Kean have empowered the community to help drive the comprehensive plan to better manage our resources and improve our environment.
“The community has high expectations and we need to make sure we put in place the best plans for the future. We know that we need to do a better job of dealing with our waste and delivering sustainable solutions,” Berejiklian said.
“The NSW Plastics Plan and 20 Year Waste Strategy will be key to ensuring that NSW is a leader when it comes to reducing waste, maximising recycling and protecting our environment.”
“We also want to make sure any businesses potentially affected by phase outs have enough time to adjust and source sustainable alternatives.”
Kean said the state’s waste industry needs to be sustainable, reliable, and affordable.
“We want to hear from as many parts of the community as possible, to ensure the strategies we put in place are practical and work for the people of NSW,” he said.
The NSW Plastics Plan discussion paper Cleaning Up Our Act: Redirecting the Future of Plastic in NSW outlines a clear pathway to reduce single-use, unnecessary, and problematic plastics in NSW and help build our circular economy.
“It sets the stage for the phase-out of priority single-use plastics, tripling the proportion of plastic recycled by 2030, reducing plastic litter by a quarter and making our state a leader in plastics research and development,” Kean said.
“Lightweight plastic bags are proposed to be phased out six months from the passage of legislation with other timelines to be determined after feedback from the public consultation process.”
Feedback on the plan is now open to the public and can be submitted here through 8 May.