Straws and cutlery are the first, but more single-use plastics are in the firing line.
Today, 1 March, is the day that South Australia drives ahead of the pack and leads the nation as it becomes the first state or territory to ban the use of single-use plastics. This includes bioplastic straws, utensils and stirrers labelled as compostable as they require strict industrial conditions to recycle.
Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said, ”We are the first state in the country to take this action and from tomorrow (1 March) plastic drinking straws, cutlery and stirrers will be banned from sale, supply and distribution in South Australia.
“By being a first mover nationally we’ve already seen businesses who manufacture re-useable and compostable alternatives start to set up in South Australia, which means our single-use plastic ban will have significant economic benefits and create local jobs, as well as being good for the environment.”
However, there are some exemptions to the ban on single-use plastics. Various businesses such as cafes are allowed to keep single-use plastics, like straws, in their possession so long as they are kept hidden and only provided to customers with a disability or health needs. Nonetheless, these same businesses are being urged to find other alternatives.
”We will continue to consider more products such as takeaway coffee cups, plastic barrier bags and other takeaway food service items as market demand increases and other sustainable alternatives become available,” said David Speirs.
”We are protecting our environment for future generations, reducing marine and other litter, and promoting the circular economy with a shift away from a single-use, throwaway mindset.
”Our legislation has been developed with the help of our Single-Use Plastics Taskforce which has representation from 15 different organisations, including people living with a disability.”
The passing of the Single-Use and Other Plastic Products (Waste Avoidance) Bill last year was good news for South Australia and good news for the environment.
The result followed a six-week-long consultation period where more than 3,500 responses were received. At the time, Environment Minister David Speirs said that a great majority of those responses were in favour of government intervention.
According to Green Industries SA, this passing of the Bill ”prohibits the sale, supply and distribution of certain single-use plastic products and establishes a framework for adding other products in the future.”
”The Marshall Liberal Government is ambitious for this legislation and won’t just stop at straws, cutlery and stirrers with expanded polystyrene cups, bowls, plates and clam-shell containers, and oxo-degradable plastic products to be banned in a years’ time,” continued Minister Speirs yesterday.
Certain businesses like pharmacies, local government offices, charities and medical facilities will be allowed to sell and supply single-use plastics.
Big ups South Australia.
For more info on South Australia’s ban on single-use plastics and what’s to come, head over to South Australia’s Replace the Waste website.