Nine single-use plastic items were phased out in Western Australia on 1 January, which saw plastic bowls, cups for cold beverages and hot foods, plates, cutlery, stirrers, straws, EPS food containers, thick plastic bags, and helium balloon releases being banned in the state.
In June last year, the WA state government fast-tracked its Plans for Plastics by up to four years, leading to a range of single-use plastics being phased out from 1 January 2022 and 1 January 2023.
“It is time for WA to take the next step towards a single-use plastic-free future. Our state has a strong track record on plastics and was named the top jurisdiction in Australia for its work on plastics by WWF Australia for two years in a row,” said Reece Whitby, WA environment minister.
“With Stage 1 of the Plan for Plastics in effect, it’s time for all Western Australians to think about the small changes they can make to their behaviour by adopting alternatives to single-use plastics and choosing the reuse.
“The community has shown overwhelming support for moves to reduce single-use plastics. The time has come for us to back that sentiment up with action.”
A community education program began this month to raise awareness of the single-use plastic bans, and to support the community to adapt to the bans.
A state-wide Plastic Free Places Program will begin in March, creating partnerships with local governments, marketplaces, shopping centres, businesses, industry and community organisations to become single-use plastic free.
Retailer and supplier education will be implemented from early 2022 to further support industry to adapt by changing to reusable or non-plastic single-use alternatives across the supply chain.
There will be a six-month transition period to allow businesses to use up supplies and adapt to the changes for all items, except for cups, which will have an extended transition period to 1 October 2022, to allow time to source alternatives.
People that require single-use plastic straws to maintain their quality of life will receive a continued supply on request with food or beverage, or for sale at select locations.
Stage 2 of the Plan for Plastics will begin on 1 January 2023 and will include bans on plastic barrier/produce bags, cotton buds with plastic shafts, polystyrene packaging, microbeads, oxo-degradable plastics, bowl and cup lids, polystyrene cups and coffee cups.