The NSW government has passed its Plastics and Circular Economy Act 2021, meaning single-use plastics will be phased out from June 2022, in effect banning the use of single-use plastic bags, straws, cotton buds, plates, bowls and cutlery in the state.

Businesses will be supported in their transition to other products before the phase-outs come into effect, and exemptions will apply to people who rely on particular single-use plastics for disability or health needs. 

The NSW government has established a legislative framework to tackle harmful and problematic plastics through the setting of design standards, with the first being set for microbeads in cosmetic and personal care items. The standard will ensure that microbeads are phased out from 1 November 2022.

“The NSW government is spending $356 million over the next five years to deliver the NSW Plastics Action Plan and the NSW Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 2041,” said Matt Kean, treasurer and energy and environment minister.

“This legislation is expected to stop 2,7 billion single-use items from ending up in our natural environment and waterways over the next 20 years, and is a gamechanger in the fight against plastic waste across our state.”

The legislation will prohibit the supply of lightweight plastic bags from 1 June 2022, and the supply of other items will be prohibited from 1 November 2022, including single-use plastic straws, cutlery, stirrers, cotton buds, plates and bowls, as well as EPS food service items.

To find out more about the legislation or to review the new Act, visit the NSW government website.

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