New South Wales will from next month join the rest of Australia in banning single use plastic bags – with more bans to come later in the year.
The state will ban single use “lightweight” bags from June 1, after passing the Plastic Reduction and Circular Economy Act 2021.
It’s estimated that single use plastics and plastic packaging comprise about 60 per cent of the state’s total litter.
From November 1 this year, NSW will also roll out bans on single use plastic straws and stirrers, single use plastic cutlery, single use plastic plates and bowls without spill-proof lids, crockery and cups made from expanded polystyrene, single use plastic cotton buds, and rinse-off personal care products with plastic beads.
The government has estimated these bans will prevent 2.7 billion plastic items from adding to the state’s waste pile.
There will be exceptions – people with disabilities or medical needs will be provided with plastic straws, for example.
NSW is the final jurisdiction to enact a bag ban – though supermarkets have had them in place independently for some time.
South Australia got the ball rolling in 2009, when it banned single-use plastic bags – with an exception for biodegradable ones.
The state carried out further bans on single-use plastics, such as straws, in 2021.
The Australian Capital Territory banned single use plastic bags in 2011, followed by Tasmania in 2013, Queensland in 2018, and Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Victoria in 2019.