The Queensland government is preparing to ban single-use plastics across the state following the success of its ban on lightweight single-use plastic bags, which saw 900 million bags saved in the first year.
The plan is in response to growing community concern around the amount of plastic being used in everyday life, said Leeanne Enoch, Queensland environment minister, in her announcement.
“The majority of Queenslanders – seven out of ten – already take steps to reduce their use of single-use plastics, but there is always more we can do to tackle pollution.
“Both government and the community need to work together and while research shows Queenslanders are on board with tackling plastics, we will undertake extensive consultation with the community on this issue,” she said.
According to Enoch, the plan is an Australian-first holistic approach to the problem of plastic waste, identifying specific actions that can be taken.
“One of these actions is to introduce legislation next year, subject to consultation through a Regulatory Impact Statement, to ban the supply of plastic products including plastic straws, cutlery, plates and stirrers.
“We will also conduct an analysis to possibly extend the ban down the track to include coffee cups, plastic cups, and heavyweight shopping bags,” she said.
Enoch said that specific single-use plastic items, which have a reusable or 100 per cent compostable alternative, will be banned from government-sponsored events. Addressing concerns from the disability community, she said that there would be extensive consultation on meeting its needs.
“We recognise there are some instances where banning plastics is not feasible – such as people with a disability who have not found bamboo, paper or metal alternatives suitable.
“This is why we will undertake extensive consultation to ensure these needs are appropriately understood and addressed, and put in place exemptions in this regard,” she said.
The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) said it was pleased to have worked with the Queensland government in developing the plan.
“It’s been fantastic for APCO to have been so closely involved with the consultation and evolution of this approach, driven by the wonderful team at Queensland Government.
“It is vital that we continue to see such strong leadership from our state governments on these critical issues, and it’s been a pleasure to actively work with solution-orientated and collaborative stakeholders in Queensland to address our collective plastics issue and drive long term, sustainable change,” said APCO.
The plan can be read at http://www.qld.gov.au/plasticreduction.