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Sustainability Quiz 47: Single-use plastics bans

Sustainability Quiz 47: Single-use plastics bans

Sustainability Quiz 47. On 1 October, WA banned moved to join a number of other Australian state in banning the first set of single-use plastics

With the exception of Tasmania, Australian states now have at least stage one single-use plastic bans in place, with most moving to stage two bans in 2023. While this article is about WA, the items banned are fairly consistent across Australia.

On 1 Oct 2022, WA joined Qld, NSW & ACT to ban single-use plastic plates, cutlery, stirrers, straws, plastic bags, EPS takeaways & what else?
     Helium balloon releases 
     Coffee cups & lids
     Plastic shaft cotton buds
     EPS packaging

Stage 1 bans

Most of these The Stage 1 items now banned in WA, are already banned in ACT, NSW, Qld and SA:

  • plates
  • unlidded bowls
  • cutlery
  • drink stirrers
  • drinking straws
  • unlidded cups for cold beverages
  • thick plastic shopping bags
  • expanded polystyrene (EPS) takeaway food containers
  • helium balloon releases
  • unlidded takeaway food containers

Stage 2 bans

With the exception of Helium Balloon Releases, which oddly are still allowed in small numbers in NSW, Stage 2 single-use or disposable plastic items to be phased out from February 2023 include:

  • expanded polystyrene packaging
  • degradable plastics (plastics designed to break up more rapidly into fragments under certain conditions)
  • barrier/produce bags
  • expanded polystyrene cups
  • coffee cups and lids
  • lids for cups, bowls and takeaway food containers
  • cotton buds with plastic shafts
  • microbeads

Coffee cups and lids

WA is still the only state in Australia with a specific date on the line to ban takeaway coffee cups and lids. Queensland has signalled a ban, "sometime in the next 5 years". Presumably other states will be watching WA closely. 

What can you do?

It is actually incredibly easy to live without single use plastics. Most of the items in this Stage One ban are items that for most people are useful, but far from important or necessary. Stage Two might take some more planning, especially for coffee drinkers, who will need to either plan to drink coffee in cafe or remember their reusable. 

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