By: Michael Crooks
NSW is saying “No” to plastics.
This week, a ban of single-use lightweight plastic bags comes into force into New South Wales.
A ban of single-use plastic products, such as straws, will follow.
The plastics ban, which begins on June 1, is aimed at reducing the amount of plastics that end up in landfill, taking years to degrade.
The ban does not apply to other plastic bags such as robust shopping bags, bags for fruit and vegetables, bin liner bags and animal waste bags.
Research has shown that in Australia one person generates 59kg of single-use plastic waste per year. Alarmingly, this is more plastic waste produced per person than in the US and Britain.
“I think all of us can see the impact plastic pollution is having on our environment, which is why we’re making major changes in New South Wales this year,” the NSW Minister for Environment James Griffin said.
“Single-use plastic is used by many of us for just a few convenient minutes, but it remains in our environment for many years, eventually breaking into microplastics.”
“Single-use plastic is used by many of us for just a few convenient minutes, but it remains in our environment for many years, eventually breaking into microplastics,” – NSW Minister for Environment James Griffin
More product bans
From November 1, the NSW Government is also banning:
- Single-use plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates, bowls and cotton buds;
- Expanded polystyrene food ware and cups;
- Rinse-off personal care products containing plastic microbeads, such as cosmetic products that work as exfoliants, and cleaning products with abrasive features. (Microbeads are tiny synthetic materials that aren’t degradable and pose a threat to marine life.)
For those with a disability or medical need, plastic straws will still be available at businesses that serve food and drinks. However, the straws will not be on display and customers are expected to ask for a straw. They do not need to provide a reason.
For those with a disability or medical need, plastic straws will still be available at businesses that serve food and drinks.
The Government expects that over the next 20 years the plastics ban will prevent “up to 2.7 billion items of plastic litter from entering the environment” in NSW.
“Single-use plastic items and packaging make up 60 per cent of all litter in New South Wales,” Mr Griffin said.
“By stopping the supply of problematic plastic in the first place, we’re helping prevent it from entering our environment as litter, or going into landfill.”
Every other state and territory has already enacted a plastic ban. The National Retail Association provides ongoing assistance for businesses to transition to a plastic-free workplace.
Every other state and territory has already enacted a plastic ban.
For NSW businesses that do not comply with the new ban, there will be penalties.
If a business is caught supplying a banned item, there is a maximum fine of $55,000 for a corporation, and $11,000 for a sole trader.
“We each have the power to make positive environmental change at an individual level,” Mr Griffin said. “And I encourage everyone to choose to go plastic-free as often as they can.”
For more information visit here.
Article supplied with thanks to Hope Media.