Plastic coffee cups and lids designed to be used once will be a thing of the past for Western Australians by within two years as part of the state’s plan to accelerate its action on single-use plastic.
The WA plan for plastics will be fast-tracked by four years with a view to phasing out single-use plastic items such as bowls, cups, plates, cutlery and polystyrene food containers by the end of 2021 as part of stage 1. Helium balloon releases will also be phased out by this year and single-use coffee cups by 2023 as part of stage 2 of the plan.
Environment minister Amber-Jade Sanderson said in a statement issued on Monday that people receiving support from the aged care, disability and health sectors would continue to be supplied with single-use plastic items if those particular items helped to ‘maintain their quality of life’.
For most other members of the community, the minister noted that minor adjustments in choosing reuse plastics was the solution.
She added that the government was also providing an education and information program for retailers, hospital businesses and community groups to help meet the phased target dates.
In the six-months after each stage of the plastics plan has commenced, the government will be offering support for business to help with the transition through a Plastic Free Places Program.
“The new timeline for the WA plan for plastics demonstrates the state government’s strong commitment to reducing the impact of plastic use and plastic litter on our environment,” Sanderson said.
“The plastic bag ban has been embraced by retailers and the community; this is the next step of the journey to reduce landfill and ensure a healthy environment.”
According to a survey of the WA public, over 98% support further action on single-use plastics. The state also celebrates being rated by WWF Australia as the ‘leading jurisdiction in Australia for action on single-use plastics.
WA premier Mark McGowan said that opting to refuse single-use plastics was setting a benchmark for the state and also ensuring the future protection of the environment.
“By bringing the timeframes forward for single-use plastic bags we can harness the community’s enthusiasm and our collective desire for change to make important improvements quickly and effectively,” McGowan said.